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Trump: "Pre-existing Conditions Will Be Covered In New Plan"; Trump: I Won't Be Happy If North Korea Conducts Nuke Test; Trump Invites Philippine President To The White House; President: I've Learned How Dishonest The Media Is; At Least 4 Dead, Dozens Injured After Tornadoes Hit TX; "United Shades of America" Tonight, 10PM ET/PT. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 30, 2017 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:40] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. And thank you so much for joining. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. A renewed focus on day 101. President Donald Trump promising that a third phase of the bill to replace Obamacare is "on the way". And Furthermore, revealing guarantees that he will include in the plan going forward coverage for pre-existing conditions.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This has evolved over a period of three or four weeks. Now, we really have a good bill. I think they could have voted on Friday. I said, "Just relax. Don't worry about this phony 100-day thing. Just relax. Take it easy. Take your time. Get the good vote and make it perfect."


TRUMP: But we want -- most importantly, we're going to drive down premiums. We're going to drive down deductibles because right now, deductibles are so high you never -- unless you are going to die a long, hard death, you never can get to use your health care --

DICKERSON: Let me ask you something --

TRUMP: -- because the deductibles are so high.

DICKERSON: OK. So what I hear you saying is preexisting is going to be in there for everybody, it's not going to be up to the states?

TRUMP: Preexisting is going to be in there and we're also --

DICKERSON: And it's not up to the states?

TRUMP: -- going to create pools.


TRUMP: And pools are going to take care of the preexisting.

DICKERSON: But on that crucial question, it's not going to be left up to the states? Everybody gets preexisting not matter where they live?

TRUMP: No, but the states --

DICKERSON: Guaranteed?

TRUMP: -- are also going to have a lot to do with it because we ultimately want to get it back down to the states.

DICKERSON: OK. Is it a guarantee?

TRUMP: Look, because if you hurt your knee, honestly, I'd rather have the federal government focused on North Korea, focused on other things than your knee, OK? Or than your back, as important as your back is. I would much rather see the federal government focused on other things --

DICKERSON: Let me --

TRUMP: -- bigger things. Now, the state is going to be in a much better position to take care, because it's smaller.

DICKERSON: People out there with pre-existing conditions, they are worried. Are they going to have the guarantee of coverage if they have a pre-existing coverage or if they live in a state where the governor decides that's not a part of the health care, or that the prices are going to up? That's the worry of the American Medical Association says --

TRUMP: We actually --

DICKERSON: -- it could effectively make coverage completely unaffordable for people.

TRUMP: We actually have -- well, forget about unaffordable. What's unaffordable is Obamacare, John.

DICKERSON: So I'm not hearing you, Mr. President, say there's a guarantee of pre-existing conditions.

TRUMP: We actually have a clause that guarantees.


WHITFIELD: All right, let's bring in CNN White House Correspondent, Athena Jones. So Athena, now the question becomes, will conservative Republicans get onboard with what the president just said?

ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. Well, that's one of the questions. This whole subject of pre-existing conditions has been a big sticking point. It's moderate Republicans who want to make sure that people who have pre-existing conditions can continue to get coverage and coverage that is affordable. That's why you're hearing the president talk about this as a guarantee. We know that in this latest GOP proposal to repeal and replace

Obamacare, that proposal requires insurers to cover people with pre- existing conditions. But those insurers could charge them more money than others in the plan if they allow their coverage to last at any point. And there are a lot of other questions about exactly how the coverage for people with pre-existing conditions will work. Those were the things that are still being discussed.

Bottom line here, Fred, is that Republicans are having a hard time getting enough Republicans support for even this latest proposal. That's why you didn't see them take a vote last week.

Take a listen to the president last night in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania talking about how much he wants to see Republicans to come together to support this latest effort. Take a listen.


TRUMP: We're going to give Americans the freedom to purchase the health care plans they want, not the health care forced on them by the government.

And I'll be so angry at Congressman Kelly and Congressman Marino and all of our congressmen in this room if we don't get that damn thing passed quickly.


JONES: So there you heard the president calling out two Republican congressmen and all the other congressmen in the room. It's not clear if he was targeting them for a specific reason or if he just spotted their faces in the crowd. I can tell you that those two congressmen he mentioned, Congressman Kelly and Congressman Marino did support the first repeal attempt, the one that failed several weeks back.

It's not clear what their stance is on this latest proposal because there hasn't really been a full whip count.

[15:05:00] But it's clear the president wants to see this get done. This, of course, is a promise that Republicans and he, in particular, ran on. Fred.

WHITFIELD: Unless it's unclear whether there's anything really in writing for any of them to familiarize themselves on over to back it or not at this juncture.

Athena Jones, keep us posted. Appreciate that.

So, in that wide-ranging CBS interview, the president also had a lot to say about the current North Korea crisis. Trump offered some candid thoughts on the young unpredictable dictator of that rogue nation and the president described his strategy on North Korea as a chess game in which he likes to keep his opponents guessing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DICKERSON: Mr. President, you and the administration said to North Korea, "Don't test a missile." They have tested a missile. Is the pressure not working?

TRUMP: Well, I didn't say, "Don't test a missile." He is going to have to do what he has to do. But he understands we're not going to be very happy. And I will tell you, a man that I've gotten to like and respect, the president of china, President Xi, I believe, has been putting pressure on him also. But so far, perhaps nothing's happened and perhaps it has. This was a small missile. This was not a big missile. This was not a nuclear test, which he was expected to do three days ago. We'll see what happens.

DICKERSON: You say not happy. What does that mean?

TRUMP: I would not be happy. If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy. And I can tell you also, I don't believe that the president of china, who is a very respected man, will be happy either.

DICKERSON: Not happy mean military action?

TRUMP: I don't know. I mean, we'll see.

DICKERSON: The Chinese, our allies, have been allies with North Korea. How are you sure that they're not using this as a way to test you?

TRUMP: You can never be sure of anything, can you? But I developed a very good relationship. I don't think they want to see a destabilized North Korea. I don't think they want to see it. They certainly don't want to see nuclear on, you know, from their neighbor. They haven't liked it for a long time. But we'll have to see what happens.

The relationship I have with China, it's been already acclaimed as being something very special, something very different than we've ever had. But again, you know, we'll find out whether or not President Xi is able to affect change.

DICKERSON: Why do --

TRUMP: I hope he is.

DICKERSON: Why do these missiles keep blowing up?

TRUMP: Well, I'd rather not discuss it. But perhaps, they're just not very good missiles. But eventually, he'll have good missiles.

DICKERSON: You don't want to discuss it because maybe we had something to do with it?

TRUMP: I just don't want to discuss it. And I think you know me very well, where you've asked me many times over the last couple of years about military. I said, we shouldn't be announcing we're going into Mosul. I said we shouldn't be announcing all our moves. It is a chess game. I just don't want people to know what my thinking is.

So, eventually, he will have a better delivery system. And if that happens, we can't allow it to happen.

DICKERSON: What do you make of the North Korean leader?

TRUMP: I have -- I really, you know, have no comment on him. People are saying, "Is he sane?" I have no idea. I can tell you this, and a lot of people don't like when I say it, but he was a young man of 26 or 27 when he took over from his father, when his father died. He's dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular, the generals and others.

And at a very young age, he was able to assume power. A lot of people, I'm sure, tried to take that power away, whether it was his uncle or anybody else. And he was able to do it. So obviously, he's a pretty smart cookie. But we have a situation that we just cannot let -- we cannot let what's been going on for a long period of years continue. And frankly, this should have been done and taken care of by the Obama administration. Should have been taken care of by the Bush administration. Should have been taken care of by Clinton.


WHITFIELD: All right, let's discuss this now with our panel. CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein, CNN Global Affairs Correspondent Elise Labott is back, and Gordon Chang, a columnist with "The Daily Beast" and author of the book, "Nuclear Showdown, North Korea Takes on the World.

All right, good to see all of you. So Ron, let me begin with you. You know, the president describing his strategy in North Korea, it's a chess game, and that he wants to keep people guessing. Does this sound as though this is part of, you know, good diplomacy or is it something else?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, so many fascinating things that you played in that video from the domestic on the health care, which by the way, the president, I thought, did not distance himself from the house bill and seemed to be going in their direction of allowing pre-existing conditions to be decided by states.

But on the -- on North Korea, look, I mean, you know, what the president supporters talk about is Richard Nixon's madman theory, right? That it is better if adversaries around the world do not know what the boundaries are of what you will do.

The problem is, I think in this case and in every case, with this president is not only our adversaries but our allies have been uncertain about what he will do and why, for example, at the same moment that we are having this diplomatic crisis which he has been very aggressive in handling, he is also pressuring North Korea on -- I'm sorry, South Korea on the free trade agreement they have with the U.S. and paying for the missile defense system and the kind of contrary impulses.

[15:10:13] On one hand, accepting the world that every presidents of World War II has accepted that the U.S. is kind of a guarantor of international stability. On the other hand, this kind of more transactional view of foreign policy, in which we only do things that aren't in our interest. And you see, I think, those, competing impulses vary at play in his reaction to this ongoing showdown.

WHITFIELD: It also sounds like you're saying it's less of a planned strategy and that he's keeping it -- keeping people guessing not because he has a strategy that he doesn't want to reveal, but because they're making modifications as they go along.


WHITFIELD: Making up the strategy as they go along.

BROWNSTEIN: No, I think there's a certain -- look, he has said consistently he doesn't want people to know exactly what he is thinking. I think he does believe that.

I guess what I'm asking is whether all the pieces fit together in some kind of rationale strategy that why, at this moment, when you are looking to bolster South Korea and build regional kind of a coalition to isolate North Korea, why choose this moment to also unload on the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement? I mean, that seems to me a very competing impulse that kind of pushes against your larger goal in this larger showdown with North Korea.

WHITFIELD: And Elise, earlier today, Senator McCain was on State of the Union and also asked about the mixed messages of the president's foreign policy and this is what he had to say.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: It's important to watch what the president does rather than what he says. There are measures that he is listening to these outstanding military leaders and taking their advice.


WHITFIELD: All right. Elise?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDETN: Well, I mean, I think that's true to some extent. He does have a very strong national security team with General McMaster, with Defense Secretary Mattis and they're certainly going to direct him in the right course in terms of, you know, military action, whether it would be appropriate.

But I think the president doesn't really understand the power of his words sometimes. He, you know, certainly is giving messages to Kim Jong-un, but when he says, "Well, we could have a potential conflict with North Korea", absolutely. I think he doesn't realize that the North Koreans might be, you know, be prone to take some kind of provocative action to test him.

WHITFIELD: And Gordon, the administration also sending, you know, South Korea some mixed messages this week. The president, President Trump saying South Korea should pay the $1 billion tab for the THAAD missile defense system. But, his national security adviser, McMaster, told the South Korea that the U.S. would pay for it.

So, here was McMaster this morning trying to offer some clarity.


LT. GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: What I told our South Korean counterpart is until any renegotiation that the deal is in place. We'll adhere to our word.

But what the president has asked us to do is to look across all of our alliances and have appropriate burden sharing, responsibility sharing. We're looking at that with our great ally, South Korea. We're looking at that with NATO.

And what you've seen because of the president's leadership, more and more nations are contributing more to our collective defense.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY ANCHOR: So the question of who pays the billion dollars is still up in the air?

MCMASTER: The question of what is the relationship on THAAD, on our defense relationship going forward, will be renegotiated as it's going to be with all of our allies. Because what the president has said is, he will prioritize American citizens' security and interests. And to do that, we need strong alliances. But also to do that effectively, and a way that's sustainable economically, we need everybody to pay their fair share.


WHITFIELD: So Gordon, what's the potential impact when allies hear different messages from people within the administration who are supposed to be working, you know, in concert?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN: NORTH KOREA TAKES ON THE WORLD": Well, the comments on THAAD, I think, were particularly undermined U.S. security because there's an election in South Korea on May 9th. There's going to be a new president.

So far, those comments about paying -- suggesting that South Korea pay a billion dollars for THAAD is helping a progressive, and left us (ph) Moon Jae-in who doesn't want THAAD in the first place. And he's certainly not going to pay more for it.

And the one thing about Moon and some other candidates in this election is that they are actually going to defect to North Korea. We are going to see very North Korea-friendly policies in Seoul, and especially if President Trump pushes South Korea in that direction. So this is going to be very important for us to try to rein this in. And that's why H.R. McMaster was saying those things on the cable new shows today about, "Oh, this is going to be OK, don't worry about what Trump said."

WHITFIELD: So the leadership of North Korea's unique situation as is the Philippines, around the White House is now receiving a lot of criticism for inviting Filipino President Duterte to the White House because of his troubled history with human rights. The president's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, said today, "His visit was necessary to deal with North Korea."

How is that argument being received?

[15:15:02] BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I think it goes to this larger point, right, which is that President Trump has essentially minimized or sublimated the idea of the U.S. as kind of the underpinning of a rules-based international order and is basically arguing that we're going to look at every relationship with other countries in a transactional matter of what's in it for us.

And in that kind of world, you not only have the leader of the Philippines but the leader of Egypt. And you have other countries in which there are clear examples of human rights violations that he has basically said we are not going to be nearly as concerned about and we're going to be looking at what we can achieve out of this relationship.

And I think this is just another -- this is perhaps the most severe example that given the extrajudicial killings that have become so common under -- you know, under the leadership in the Philippines. But I think this is basically the pattern. You know, it was fascinating, even in the relationship with China, when he -- he basically said explicitly what other presidents have said implicitly when he said, we can't press China as much as I promised on trade or currency because we need their help on North Korea. He is essentially making, you know, a very explicit argument that we are going to judge every relationship around the world by what these other nations or institutions like NATO or the E.U. can do for us.

WHITFIELD: All right, Ron Brownstein, we'll leave it right there. Elise Labott, Gordon Chang, thanks to all of you. Appreciate it.

All right. So now, it is day 101 for the president of the United States. So what did he learn from his first 100 days in office? His response next. Plus, the White House says, it has looked into changing libel laws making it easier to sue the media. That conversation straight ahead.

And, tornadoes continue to threaten the Midwest after a deadly outbreak rips through Texas. A live report when "The Newsroom" continues.


[15:20:53] WHITFIELD: All right, the president of the United States makes it very clear he has disdain for the media and considers the media a challenge to his presidency. That is just one tune that has not changed since the campaign. He told CBS's John Dickerson this morning rather that his feelings toward the media have only grown cooler in the first 100 days.


TRUMP: One of the things that I've learned is how dishonest the media is, really. I've done things that are I think very good. I've done -- I've set great foundations with foreign leaders. We have, you know, NAFTA, as you know, I was going to terminate it, but I got a very nice call from a man I like, the president of Mexico. I got a very nice call from Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada. And they said, please would you rather than terminating NAFTA -- I was all set to do it. In fact, I was going to do it today. I was going to do it as we're sitting here. I would have had to delay you. I was going to do it today. I was going to terminate NAFTA.

But they called up and they said, "Would you negotiate?" And I said, "Yes, I will negotiate."

DICKERSON: That's all you've learned about the media? You knew from the campaign about the media. You said it all the time --

TRUMP: No, no, but the media didn't cover it that way. The media said, "Oh, I didn't terminate NAFTA."


TRUMP: First of all, if you look at my statements, I said --

DICKERSON: No, no I meant --

TRUMP: -- "If I'm not able to renegotiate NAFTA, I will terminate NAFTA." Well, I'll make that statement right now.

DICKERSON: Here's a question.

TRUMP: If I'm not able to renegotiate NAFTA, we will terminate NAFTA.


WHITFIELD: All right, back with me, Ron Brownstein, also CNN Media Analyst Bill Carter and former chief of staff to Reince Priebus during his RNC years, Mike Shields. All right, good to see all of you.

So, Ron, I know the question was what have you learned, and immediately the president's instinct was to talk about the dishonest media. Is this administration also trying to lay the groundwork to demean, or undermine or reshape the First Amendment?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I don't think the criticism is applied only to the media. I think the president, through the campaign and in the first 100 days, has been consistently contemptuous of any institution that he thinks can stand against him. Certainly the media, the judiciary so-called judges, I mean, the criticism of individual judges, one judge on an island somewhere in the Pacific and the attorney general.

Even we're seeing in Congress, where he has talked about, for example, he's raised the possibility of pressuring Republicans to end the Phil Buster in the Senate. I mean, there is a consistent pattern where -- that we have seen going back to the campaign that the president generally speaking does not engage on the merits with any critical institution, but instead tries to undermine its validity and/or question its kind of commitment to the national interest. WHITFIELD: And so, Bill, you know, take a listen to his chief of

staff, Reince Priebus, saying that the White House has actually talked about changing the law to allow the president to actually sue newspapers to publish stories that he doesn't believe are favorable. Listen.


REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think it's something that we've looked at and how that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story. But when you have articles out there that have no basis or fact and we're sitting here on 24/7 cable companies writing stories about constant contacts with Russia and all these other matters that --

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS HOST: Do you think the president should be --

PRIEBUS: -- no basis at all --

KARL: -- able to sue "The New York Times" --

PRIEBUS: I think that --

KARL: -- for stories he doesn't like?

PRIEBUS: I think that -- here's what I think. I think that newspapers and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the news. I am so tired --

KARL: I don't think anybody would disagree with that. It's about whether or not the president should have a right to sue them.

PRIEBUS: And I already answered the question.


WHITFIELD: So Bill, does this underscore -- is it a lack of respect, lack of understanding of the role of the press by hearing this from Reince Priebus and the president?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Well, I think the president thinks the role of the press is to say he's doing great things. And they don't, he accuses them of being dishonest.

And he's a 100 days in and he's trying to undermine the constitution by, you know, eviscerating the First Amendment. It's pretty outrageous to think he's going to do that.

By the way, the liable laws can't be changed. You can only get a constitutional amendment to do that. So, that's not going to happen.

[15:25:01] It's sort of this radical kind of narcissism that he has. That if you don't like what I'm saying, you're dishonest, is untrue, I'm going to attack you for it.

Interestingly, when you watched the event last night, the dinner last night, you had Hasan Minhaj say something very interesting. He said, you know, he's a first-generation American and only in America could a person like him get up and make fun of the president of the United States because of the First Amendment.

And now, you have the -- sort of impression because now, the president's, you know, chief of staff the next day says, "Well, we should get rid of that." And maybe we wouldn't have those things in the future where a guy could come up and just say some, you know, jokes about the president of the United States.

WHITFIELD: And so Mike, what's your assessment of how the president and this White House is expressing its disdain for the media even trying to limit what is reported and how it's reported?

MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, well, first of all, Reince didn't say we should get rid of that. He said, "We're taking a look at it."

But (inaudible), look, I think that when it comes to --

WHITFIELD: But you're saying look at it with the sole purpose of the goal of seeing --

SHIELDS: Well --

WHITFIELD: -- how it can't be modified or changed, right?

SHIELDS: Look, there is a political benefit to the president taking on the media and what I don't see are my friends in the media having any self-reflection whatsoever of how they put themselves in a position that the public doesn't trust them and that the president of the United States could keep attacking them for political benefit.

I mean, you had a perfect contrast to that last night. You had the White House Correspondents' Dinner. You had a liberal comedian. Yes, he made some jokes at the expense of liberals, but everyone knows that he's a liberal comedian. You have the Washington press corps laughing at all of his jokes. And the president leaves, does not attend the event and goes up to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to set the contrast that he's not a part of that crowd.

And rather than the media saying, you know, how we brought ourselves to this position, how we put ourselves in a position where the country doesn't trust us and the president can slam us with impunity and a lot of people believe him, and we maybe we need to ask ourselves some questions about how we got there. Instead, the media keeps sort of playing into the role of the resistance movement much like the Democrats and attacking the president mercilessly as opposed to, yes, holding him accountable, reporting on what he's doing. But making a distinction between looking like they're part of the resistance movement and playing into his hands politically so that he can keep attacking them this way.

WHITFIELD: So Ron, what's your response to that? Is there a problem of making the distinction between attacking the president and holding him accountable? BROWNSTEIN: Look, I think there's a, you know, there's a range of

roles in the media. And I think that, you know, from commentators who, you know, use their platforms to criticize or support the president, and there are plenty of those as well, to more kind of, you know, kind of reporters in the trenches who see their job as telling the truth as best that we can learn it. And I think there's a very clear distinction there. And one might say the country doesn't trust the media, that's just way overbroad.

I think, you know, there are --


BROWNSTEIN: There's a portion of the country that doesn't trust the media and the president is doing everything he can to solidify that and the polling is showing that it's working. That among his voters and his supporters, he really is kind of silencing the ability of any kind of outside institution to come in with contrary alternative facts to what he is presenting.

But again, I think you can't see this just as the media. I mean, there is a consistent pattern, whether it's judiciary, the Congress, really any institution that he feels is in his way, he has sought on a kind of systematic basis to undermine their credibility and it raises questions about his commitment to the basic idea of checks and balances as laid out in the constitution.


SHIELDS: Can I also point out, Ron, real quick, and I worked at CNN. I have a tremendous amount of respect for you, and my journalistic colleagues. But, you just pointed out that this -- you've laid a lot of this blame that the president is saying is undermining the media.

Show me examples of where the media has been introspective since they got a lot of things wrong in the election, where we can point to and say, "Here's some steps the media have taken to admit that they made a lot of mistakes and that perhaps there's something that they need to address amongst themselves about what's going on in the country, how the country views the media."

I don't see a lot of examples of where -- of the other side of the equation here.



WHITFIELD: And since, Bill, I wonder -- OK go ahead, Ron, respond to that, because you're also talking, Mike, as if there's monolithic media.

SHIELDS: Right, exactly.

WHITFIELD: And I think Ron just made the point that there are many different divisions and areas of the media and representations of. So, Ron.

BROWNSTEIN: All I have to say before I turn the floor to Bill is that, I think -- if you look at the 100 days, virtually every media -- major media institution made a significant effort to look at how this was viewed from the point of view of Trump country, of Trump supporters. And the great story of the LA Times in Pueblo, Colorado.

I mean, there are places all over that have really -- I think it has one area where the media has had a lot of introspection, the kind of awareness of who they have been -- you know, who's been reading them and who they -- who has been seeing them versus those who have not, and really, I think, trying to increase their understanding, the lens through which they kind of looked at other parts of America that were much more sympathetic to president.

WHITFIELD: OK, and Bill, last words.

CARTER: Yes, I was going to say the issue of trust, look at the trust percentage for the president's, it's one of the worst in history.

[15:30:04] So, to accuse the president of not having trust, you have to also point out the president doesn't have -- even his base doesn't trust him at the same level. They said they don't trust him.

So, he has a real issue with that. It's not just him attacking the media as not having the trust of the country.

WHITFIELD: All right, Bill Carter, Mike Shields, Ron Brownstein, thank you very much, gentlemen. Appreciate it.

And we'll be right back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to hit the power lines. Oh my god.

WHITFIELD: That is ferocious. A terrifying footage showing this monster tornado sweeping through parts of Texas. At least four people were killed and more than 50 others injured after at least three twisters touched down east of Dallas last night.

And right now, rescue crews are digging through the rubble looking for any survivors.

[15:35:02] And residents are picking up what's left of their homes and businesses, any kind of property they can find.

One family captured the devastation as they drove through the storm zone.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that wrapped around the trees.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, there's a metal wrapped around stop signs. And, I think there's a two by four up in that tree. (Inaudible) like wrapped around trees, wrapped around electrical lines.


WHITFIELD: Hard images to look at. CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval has been following this story for us. So they're continuing to try to conduct their search and rescue.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And these pictures, Fred, are coming out of Canton, Texas, which is perhaps the hardest hit city there in Texas, at least four confirmed dead there. And as you mentioned, that search is continued for survivors and potential victims. So, yes, there is a concern that the numbers could go up.

Not far from there in Emory, Texas, that's where some of these pictures were shot by local diocese. Looking at these pictures of a church that was destroyed during the storm. I'm told that there were about 45 parishioners that were gathered a nearby parish hall last night for a high school graduation party when they got the order to seek shelter. They ran into a hallway where they essentially all rode out the storm.

And, the fact that nobody was hurt here, parishioners are using the word miracle or at least describing this as a miracle. You see probably the only thing that was left inside was a statue of the Virgin Mary there aside from some more of the property.

And then, a little while ago, Fred, another sign of hope. Some hope for healing. This was a video that was also uploaded by the local parish there at the St. John, The Evangelist Catholic Church. You see them, they are celebrating Sunday mass in the parking lot under a tarp only feet away from piles of rubble.

I had an opportunity to listen to these parishioners a little while ago and you can hear that they are obviously have hope for healing. They are leaning on each other, leaning on prayer to get through this. Because they may have lost their church, Fred, but at least they do have their faith and each other.

And so I think this is one of the more stories of resilience that we have seen in a lot of this storm here. I have covered many of these storms before and it often is the best of humanity that follows the worst of Mother Nature.

WHITFIELD: Well, their faith is strong in that community. All right, thanks so much, Polo Sandoval.

SANDOVAL: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Appreciate it.

All right, coming up, President Trump is ramping up his rhetoric on North Korea and leaving the door open for military action there.

We'll have a report from Pyongyang after a short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [15:41:34] WHITFIELD: A day after North Korea's failed missile test, President Trump is taking a defiant tone on North Korea.

Here's how he described his reaction to a potential nuclear test by Kim Jong-un.


TRUMP: I would not be happy. If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy. And I can tell you also, I don't believe that the president of China, who is a very respected man, will be happy either.

DICKERSON: Not happy mean military action?

TRUMP: I don't know. I mean, we'll see.


WHITFIELD: All right, this as the USS Vinson conducts joint drills with South Korea in waters off the Korean Peninsula. CNN's Will Ripley is in North Korea and has the latest.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump continues to be very ambiguous about what the United States would actually do if North Korea goes forward with a sixth nuclear test.

But here on the ground in Pyongyang, they are anything but ambiguous with their rhetoric blasting the U.S., calling them warmongers for deploying the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to the waters off the Korean Peninsula, conducting joint exercises with the South Korean navy.

They say it's yet another example of the hostile United States doing one thing but then asking North Korea to do another. And so, government officials here say, they absolutely will continue to launch missiles and conduct another nuclear test whenever their Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, decides the timing is right.

And you also heard President Trump talking a lot about China and lavishing praise, once again, on Chinese President Xi Jinping. We know that China has a significant trade relationship with North Korea, at least 70 percent of this country's trade according to economists here, 90 percent by other estimates outside of North Korea. And then China also controls a large oil pipeline, a significant amount of this country's oil flows in through China.

So if Beijing were to cut off this country, it could have very severe economic consequences. But the North Koreans, when we've asked them about this, have scoffed at the suggestion that pressure from China, the United Nations, the U.S. or anyone else, will slow down their development of weapons of mass destruction that they view as essential to protect their national sovereignty in the face of what they view as a growing threat in South Korea with the deployment now of the THAAD missile defense system, North Korean propaganda blasting the confusion in the South over who is going to pay for $1 billion for the deployment of this highly sophisticated technology. We now know the U.S. will go ahead and pay for it as was made in an

agreement prior to the Trump administration.

But moving forward, what we don't know is, are there discussions, bat- channel discussions, the efforts to engage in diplomacy? We get a sense from North Korean officials they are willing to talk with China and the United States. They want a seat at the table with the rest of the world.

But what they don't want is to be bullied into giving up their nuclear weapons after they have invested a considerable amount of time and resources into developing these weapons. And they say they are entitled to have them. They want to be recognized as a nuclear power before they sit down and start to try to hash out a resolution in all of this without going to the option that nobody wants, which is a military conflict.

Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.

WHITFIELD: And we'll have much more on this at the top of the hour. Plus, still ahead, we'll with W. Kamau Bell about his interview with White Supremacist, Richard Spencer.


W. KAMAU BELL, COMEDIAN AND CNN HOST: What do you love about white privilege?

RICHARD SPENCER, WHITE NATIONALIST: It looks great. Like, you know, I mean, the people are good looking and, you know, nice suits. Great literature. Like yes, I just want to bathe in white privilege, the greatest most awesome thing.


[15:49:13] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. President Trump's determination to get his travel ban passed and take on sanctuary cities that he says harbor undocumented immigrants has ignited passions on both sides of the aisle. And it's also led to frank and sometimes uncomfortable conversations about race in America.

On tonight's season premiere of "United Shades of America", a comedian, W. Kamau Bell, tackles that very subject with a white nationalist.


BELL: So, I think white people do need to talk about their whiteness more here and we're doing in it.

SPENCER: We're here to talk about white privilege. We want to bring it back, make America great again.

BELL: You -- so you're a fan of white privilege?

SPENCER: Oh, yes. BELL: And what have you -- and what do you love about white


SPENCER: It looks great. Like, you know, I mean, the people are good looking and, you know, nice suits.

[15:50:02] Great literature. Like, yes, I just want to bathe in white privilege. It's great. It's the most awesome thing.

BELL: Is working out for you.

SPENCER: Well, yes. I want to expand white privilege. We live in a world where every spring, Google and Facebook and Apple release these diversity numbers. And it'll be like, it's amazing, guys, we hired less white men this year. We think that it's inherently wonderful for white people to have less power. Oh, that's great. Oh, I'm glad. Let's -- I hope the new James Bond is going to be a black guy. That would be great for the world.

BELL: Is that a real big deal though, if James Bond's a black guy? Is that really -- like do you care?

SPENCER: Well, for me, yes, that might be --

BELL: That's too much.

SPENCER: -- too much.


WHITFIELD: I am joined now by W. Kamau Bell, host of CNN's "United Shades of America."

So you're laughing a lot. Yes, you're a comedian and we all laugh with you, but are you also laughing because this is uncomfortable to hear what you heard?

BELL: Yes, well, I am a comedian, that means I laugh at things other people don't laugh at and also annoys my wife sometimes.

But yes, I mean, I -- the way he puts those things, you know, he says he wants to bathe in white privilege. That's not something I expected to hear somebody say. And to be out and loud about it is pretty shocking and made me laugh. But it doesn't mean I agree with it.

But it also meant that because I'm responding that way, we get to have a different type of conversation than he has with most people, which is what I think my show does and it does it well.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Kamau, you and I were recently on a panel. And you've talked about how, you know, it does ruffle a lot of feathers that you are giving air time to someone representing white supremacy. Why do you think it's important to hear from him directly in this way?

BELL: I mean, let's be clear, he's not a marginalized figure. And some people say, "Well, that's exactly why you shouldn't talk to him." But his ideas in the White House, and as much as all of us think we're all equally looped (ph), what I learned from doing The Klan episode last year is many people especially had no idea the Klan still existed.

And so I think there's many people who will turn on CNN tonight and watch the show and maybe the first time they ever heard of him, and maybe they'll start a conversation with them or somebody in the house with them or at work. I -- we have to have these uncomfortable conversations and we can't just assume that by not looking at these things and not looking at them up close, they're going to go away, especially when they get his ideas are in the White House with Steve Bannon.

WHITFIELD: But what do you say to people who say, "You know what, like you, didn't know the Klan still existed", or maybe people didn't even know his name and now you're giving a platform to help publicize the mission, the identity, who that person is directly?

BELL: I mean, I think the idea of giving somebody a platform means if I just sort of said, "Richard, it's your show now, I'm going to go off camera and let you just handle it from here." That's giving a platform.

I actually engaged him in a back and forth discussion. And let's remember, most of the show is not Richard Spencer. Most of the show is stories of other immigrants and refugees who I think come off far better in the episode than Richard Spencer does.

WHITFIELD: OK. You also wrote about this, in an op-ed on and you write, "I put Spencer on TV for the same reason that I put the KKK on TV. We all need to make sure that we fully understand our country."

So these interviews, just like you said, you mentioned, you know, people who don't necessarily represent, you know, those representations. Do you feel like your show is helping people to see this country in a much more clear way, give them a better understanding? What's your objective?

BELL: I mean, you know, all you have to do is look at my mentions on Twitter today and you can see that people are having conversations they wouldn't be having, and that's just because the commercials are running.

So I feel like -- but the thing is if we can get outside of the back and forth of the snarkiness, the social media in this conversation and sit down and look people in the eye, I do believe this is part of helping people understand the country better. I think comedians can do that. I saw Minhaj last night at the press corps dinner. You know, and also Samantha Bee. That's what we do.

WHITFIELD: All right, W. Kamau Bell, thanks so much. Always good to see you whether it's in person or the television via satellite. "United Shades of America" premiering tonight at 10:00 Eastern Time right here on CNN. All right, the next hour of the "Newsroom" starts right after a quick

break. But first, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has this week's "Living to 100".

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: When you think about reading, just the idea of being able to focus on something in particular that's not a big screen, not a device, can really 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 by up to 32 percent. This is significant. It's fascinating to see how the brain responds, even if the body is sitting still looking at those pages.

So for example, if there is a scene that you're reading that's a very active scene, the areas of your brain that are called the motor cortex that are responsible for movement, they may start to light up. If it's a particularly stimulating part of the book that you're reading, your sensory cortex, which actually allows you to see, that may start to light up.

[15:55:04] There've been some interesting studies showing that you don't necessarily have to read a book -- I recommend this one, by the way. You could actually hear books. You can listen to an audio book, for example. And that can have some of the same beneficial effects that we're talking about.

So just keep in mind, 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Living to 100, is brought to you by Johnson & Johnson. To discover quick and easy ways to extend your best life, go to


WHITFIELD: Happening now in the "Newsroom".

DICKERSON: What do you make of the North Korean leader?

TRUMP: I have -- I really, you know, have no comment on him. People are saying, "Is he sane?" I have no idea.

[16:00:07] I would not be happy. If he does a nuclear test, I will not be happy.

DICKERSON: Not happy mean military action?

TRUMP: I don't know. I mean, we'll see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the president considering a preemptive strike --