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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Another FOX News Executive Out; Trump Begins Campaigning for 2020. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired May 1, 2017 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Just when you thought it was safe to watch TV again, President Trump's reelection campaign is under way with a new political ad on television and online.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: America is winning, and President Trump is making America great again.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm Donald Trump, and I approve this message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Wow, the countdown to 2020 is already on, and not just on the GOP side.
CNN's Brianna Keilar is here with me.
And, Brianna, the rumors are already swirling about which Democrats will throw their hats into the ring.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
Are we going to see familiar faces of the Democratic Party, or are we going to see candidates who are not even on the national political scene right now? Either way, this is a really difficult task, unseating a sitting president who has already begun his reelection campaign.
KEILAR (voice-over): The words that have launched 1,000 campaigns.
JOSEPH BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Guys, I'm not running, OK?
KEILAR: Joe Biden's comments in politically important New Hampshire, we should note, are not convincing political observers that he's really out of the race in 2020. LARRY SABATO, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CENTER FOR POLITICS:
Biden says one thing one day and another thing the next day. It meant nothing, what he said yesterday, absolutely nothing.
KEILAR: This was the former vice president in march.
BIDEN: I think I could have won. Do I regret not being president? Yes.
KEILAR: If Biden runs, he would likely join a crowded field of Democrats, some of whom may already quietly be exploring a presidential bid.
TRUMP: I have a feeling that in the next election, you're going to be swamped with candidates, but you're not going to be wasting your time.
KEILAR: Today, President Trump out with his first campaign ad, the earliest one that has ever aired in a first term.
NARRATOR: And President Trump is making America great again.
TRUMP: I'm Donald Trump, and I approve this message.
KEILAR: He's eying Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as a possible 2020 opponent, re-upping his dig as her self-claimed, but unverified Native American heritage.
TRUMP: It may be Pocahontas. Remember that.
KEILAR: Warren is running for reelection and is out with a new book. She has loudly opposed Trump at the women's march.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We fight harder. We fight tougher.
KEILAR: On his administration picks.
WARREN: I ask leave of the Senate to continue my remarks.
KEILAR: And maybe on the presidential campaign trail.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you say to some of your critics who think that you are doing this to help position yourself for a possible run in 2020?
WARREN: I say I'm doing my job.
KEILAR: And what about Hillary Clinton? Just last month, she was rallying Democrats.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We can never stop fighting. We need to dedicate these next years, the next two year, the next four years and beyond, to supporting people and organizations that are advocating for the best of American values. KEILAR: And, privately, sources say she has not completely ruled out
another run. Bernie Sanders seems more likely to attempt one, though. Much to the chagrin of party fund-raisers, Sanders has not shared his voter contact information with them, perhaps saving it for himself, but there's a problem. How do we say this politely?
SABATO: The Democratic Party has to be careful that it doesn't present the image of a nursing home. Some of these candidates are going to be in their upper 70s, really within hailing distance of 80. The younger candidates will have an opportunity to present a contrast.
KEILAR: And so that gives an opening to fresher faces in the Senate like Cory Booker or maybe Kamala Harris or governors like John Hickenlooper and Andrew Cuomo, even a governor would hasn't been elected yet. And, of course, Jake do not forget about Oprah.
TAPPER: How could I forget about Oprah?
KEILAR: She's indicated she may be open to running.
TAPPER: She is the sun and the stars.
TAPPER: Thank you very much, Brianna Keilar. I appreciate it.
Let's bring in my political panel.
Let me just start with you, Susan. Who is the leader of the Democratic Party right now?
SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": I think the leader of the Democratic Party is probably someone who is not actually a Democrat, and that's Bernie Sanders.
I think he's the person who came closer than any of us expected, including him last time. And I think he generates a lot of -- it's where the energy of the party is right now.
TAPPER: A Republican friend of me, Alice, told me today that they really don't want to run against Joe Biden. They actually think Joe Biden would be tough.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Because he -- I view him as someone who really connects with the people, working-class people across America, unlike any other Democrat.
He is someone -- Hillary Clinton was not able to capitalize and really convey to people the she understands what they're going through. Joe Biden does. He comes from them and he can speak to them. So he would be someone that's a big threat.
The key for the Democratic Party, though, is harnessing their anti- Trump sentiment into votes. And that's going to be a big challenge, in addition to who it is, how they do it.
TAPPER: And also I think, Anne, one of the things that the Democratic Party has to do is harness this energy into like legislation and an agenda.
I was actually surprised, after the first repeal and replace bill attempt went down in flames, I was surprised that had that following Monday, the Democrats didn't have a press conference and say, here are the five changes to Obamacare, here's our bill. Moderate Republicans, join us with us, let's fix this.
I don't know what President Trump would have done. He probably would have signed it.
ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, right.
If the argument on the Democratic side is, Republicans can't get anything done, and they've got two left feet, while holding both houses of Congress and the White House, the Democrats would do well to have a further positive argument to that is, and here's what we would do. Here's what we want to do. Here's what we're offering the White House. Here's what we would do if he held any of those levers of power.
And so far, they haven't been able to do it. Their only saving grace is that the Republicans look worse than they do in terms of actually being able to get anything done.
TAPPER: Is that why, Susan, you think that they are being rather quiet when it comes to proposing alternatives? They don't have to? Let the party just shoot -- the Republican Party just shoot itself?
PAGE: Well, being not Trump has been a pretty good formula for Democrats so far.
But I also think there's not unity on the Democratic side. If you wanted to fix the Affordable Care Act, there would be a significant contingent of Democrats who would say, let's go to a single-payer system.
PAGE: And you would be back into the debate between the left in the Democratic Party and the middle, just like we were when the Affordable Care Act was first being debated.
TAPPER: That's interesting. And it's true. We see all these divisions right now, Alice, between the Republicans. You have got the moderate Republicans, a lot of them from New Jersey, vs. the Freedom Caucus members, and then -- but we don't -- the Democrats look like a monolith, but they are not.
STEWART: Absolutely not. And they are standing firm on being the resistance party right now. But the key -- to Susan's point, also, look, they should have come out with something. They have to acknowledge that there are problems with Obamacare. The premiums have gone up. The costs have skyrocketed.
Some counties in this country, there's only one health care choice. So, they would be better off, instead of standing firm and do not repeal and replace Obamacare, provide a couple of areas where they can find common ground with the moderate Republicans. And that would go a long way to winning over some support from the people that voted for Trump that had been Obama supporters.
Those are the ones they need to reach out, the ones that had been Obama supporters that are now for Trump. They have to start peeling some of those people back.
TAPPER: Anne, let's game out a Biden run for one second. He would have to distance himself a bit from some of the things that President Obama did.
And you saw him do that had a little tiny bit on behalf of Hillary Clinton, campaigning for her in the waning months. He would have to do that had a whole lot more. He would have to do some -- clearly would have to do some fancy footwork on that. And he would also, I think, have to assume a mantle that he clearly didn't feel that he had all of the tools at his disposal to assume this last time out.
He started too late. He wasn't going to get the money. He wasn't going to get the institutional party backing. I think those things would be more likely to start falling in place for him this time, but he would have to make an argument to people who supported Hillary last time who might have -- who he would have had to peel away that he really is going to do it, and he really can win, and he really is the guy this time.
And he will be 78 in 2020, former Vice President Biden. But, as I think Biden pointed out to me, Trump will be 74. Is that -- can you really have an age issue for Biden at 78 if the incumbent is 74?
PAGE: You might be able to be able to make age an issue, and not age as in he's so old, but more like, is there a new generation of leadership, are we ready for something new?
One thing we have found with presidential elections is, we often want whatever is the reverse of what we just had.
PAGE: So if we just had an outsider who is 74, maybe what the Democrats will be looking for is somebody with some inside experience, but who is a generation younger. TAPPER: OK, stick around. We got lots more to talk about, more
fallout from the FOX News Channel sexual harassment situation, another top employee leaving or being shown the door from the troubled network.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: We're back with our politics lead.
Let's dive back in with my panel.
Take a listen to President Trump. This is at the end of his interview with CBS News' John Dickerson. Dickerson brought up the apparently false claim that President Trump made that President Obama had him wiretapped at Trump Tower. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, he was very nice to me, but after that, we have had some difficulties. So, it doesn't matter.
You know, words are less important to me than deeds. And you saw what happened with surveillance. And everybody saw what happened with surveillance.
JOHN DICKERSON, HOST, "FACE THE NATION": Difficulties how?
TRUMP: I thought that -- well, you saw what happened with surveillance, and I think that was inappropriate.
DICKERSON: What does that mean, sir?
TRUMP: You can figure that out yourself.
DICKERSON: Well, the reason I ask is you said he -- you called him sick and bad.
TRUMP: Look, you can figure it out yourself. He was very nice to me with words, but -- and when I was with him -- but after that, there has been no relationship.
DICKERSON: But you stand by that claim about...
TRUMP: I don't stand by anything. I just -- you can take it the way you want.
I think our side has been proven very strongly, and everybody is talking about it, and, frankly, it should be discussed. I think that is a very big -- surveillance of our citizens, I think it's a very big topic, and it's a topic that should be number one. And we should find out what the hell is going on.
DICKERSON: I just wanted to find out, though. You're the president of the United States. You said he was sick and bad because he...
TRUMP: You can take any way -- you can take it any way you want.
DICKERSON: But I'm asking you, because you don't want it to be fake news. I want to hear it from President Trump.
TRUMP: You don't have to ask me. You don't have to ask me.
DICKERSON: Why not?
TRUMP: Because I have my own opinions. You can have your own opinions.
DICKERSON: But I want to know your opinions. You're the president of the United States.
TRUMP: OK. OK. It's enough. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That's interesting.
"Our side has been proven very strongly."
Just for the record, it has not. There's no evidence that President Obama wiretapped President Trump at Trump Tower. There is some evidence that there was some incidental collection of Trump advisers talking to Russians but not as part of focus on them. Anyway, what do you make of all of that?
SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF: So, first of all kudos to John Dickerson because you've been in that situation all this half where somebody's not answering a question and you follow up and it's hard not to seem rude but you want seem be persistent because that's your job and that's exactly what John did there. It is amazing to me that President Trump hasn't backed off his original tweet from however long ago it was that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign. As you say, no evidence that that's the case, but he continues to make the case, to say it's true and to indicate that maybe it's just a difference of opinion about whether it happened or not.
TAPPER: Yes. There's no opinion here, there's facts. There was a FISA Warrant apparently about Carter Page who was an unofficial adviser and then fired by the campaign but we don't know anything else about that, about that FISA Warrant. There's no evidence to what President Trump said.
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, to date, it remains unsubstantiated and I would imagine it would continue to be that way. Look, when you make a claim like this about the former President that he wiretapped your tower, it should be based on fact, not opinion, and this was a wild outlandish accusation and now he's saying I don't stand by anything. When you make a claim like that, you should not only stand by it that day, months down the road and you should jump up and down with flags if you feel so strongly about it. And they walked it back a little bit with regard to wiretapping to surveillance of American citizens but this is serious claim and I don't see that we're going to see any kind of evidence to back it up.
TAPPER: And Anne, as has been pointed out, this is the most telling thing, the most telling quote in it, besides, I don't stand by anything. He says, I have my own opinions and you can have your own opinions. This is not about opinions.
ANNE GEARAN, THE WASHINGTON POST, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.
TAPPER: This is about facts.
GEARAN: And this issue - this - the whole set of questions raised by the erroneous tweets and then his refusal to back off of them did political damage at the beginning and it's continuing to do political damage weeks later and the White House has not come up with a way to cauterize this. Sean Spicer has tried multiple times, and the President keeps undoing it every time Spicer thinks he may have headed off -appears to think he may have had its head off at least partway, and I think today is exactly the same thing. Now this will go on, you know, reopening the whole question. I don't - you know, I don't stand by anything. You can have your own opinion will be the thing that everybody talks about for weeks to come.
TAPPER: And the thing that we do know is that there was surveillance of Russians and other foreign officials, and there were -and there were members of the Trump team picked up in that surveillance which begs the question, what were they doing talking to those foreign officials?
PAGE: Well, of course, that's why we have an FBI investigation that is going to be - that's going to continue for months and maybe longer than that and that's why we have five different committees on the Hill investigating aspects of it as well.
TAPPER: And you - the thing is also Dickerson wasn't asking about the claim from March 4th, the false tweets. He was asking about his relationship with President Obama. President Trump is the one that took it to surveillance and everything else like that.
STEWART: Well, I think the key - the way to cauterize the story is, look, we do have an investigation underway whether about Russian interference in the election, whether it influenced the election and some of the surveillance. Just say, it's under investigation, we'll talk when it's done.
TAPPER: Great panel. Thanks one and all for being here, really appreciate it.
Blood smeared on the overhead bins, several passengers with broken bones all from unexpected sudden turbulence, the terrifying flight that injured dozens of people coming up next. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[16:50:00] TAPPER: We're back with the "MONEY LEAD" and another major shake-up at Fox News Channel as scandals continue to plague that network. Today 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch announced that Fox News Co-President Bill Shine is out. Shine had been at the news network since its inception in 1996. This is the man who replaced Roger Ailes after he was forced out after sexual harassment allegations. Let's bring in CNN Senior Media and Politics Reporter Dylan Byers. Dylan thanks for joining us. What do we know about this resignation or firing or whatever it was?
Well, what we know is 21st Century Fox is calling it a resignation. There's reason to be dubious about that. Obviously, this comes in the wake of much public scrutiny about that fact that Bill Shine continued to serve of as Co-President despite what many say was his role as an enabler of Roger Ailes, the former Fox News Chief and the alleged sexual harassment allegations against him. Obviously, this is a problem that Fox News has been dealing with for almost a year now. They got rid of Roger Ailes first, then they got rid of Bill O'Reilly, now finally getting rid of Bill Shine. The statement from Rupert Murdoch, the Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox reads as follows, "this is a significant day for all at Fox News. Bill has played a huge role in building Fox News to its present position as the nation's biggest and most important cable channel in the history of the industry." So you'll see there, Jake, absolutely no mention of the allegations that Bill Shine played an enabling role for Roger Ailes in the alleged sexual harassment allegations against him. They are parting ways amicably. Needless to say, 21st Century Fox has concluded that Fox News cannot continue in the way it did under Roger Ailes, under Bill Shine for the last 21 years.
TAPPER: Meanwhile, the lawsuits keep piling up at Fox and there's another discrimination case we're learning about today.
BYERS: That's right, Jake. Yet another discrimination case, this one from Diana Falzone who says that she was discriminated against because she wrote about a chronic disease she had that made her infertile. She says because of that and her gender, she was discriminated against at the network. Obviously, these cases continue to pile up, 21st Century Fox and Fox News facing more and more lawsuits. Meanwhile, they are also undergoing a federal investigation into their handling of settlements against previous employees who have accused the network of wrongdoing. So it's just a litany of problems for the network right now and more and more seem to be coming out of the woodwork.
[16:55:32] TAPPER: All right, Dylan Byers with the latest news, thank you so much.
BYERS: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: In the "WORLD LEAD," at least 27 passengers were injured when their plane hit severe turbulence today. Some suffered broken bones and even needed surgery after the Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Bangkok. One passenger told CNN that the turbulence quote "came out of nowhere and threw people out of their seats leaving bloodstains like this on the overhead bin." Aeroflot said the incident was called by so-called "clear sky turbulence" which is difficult to prepare for because it happens when there is good cloud visibility - I'm sorry when there is good visibility, not clouds. The airline says that's why passengers were not warned to return to their seats. More on our "WORLD LEAD" now, U.S. service member was killed in Iraq over the weekend after an improvised explosive device detonated while he was patrolling near Mosul. 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee was on his first deployment to Iraq as part of the Army's advice and assist support. The Georgia native was only 25 years old. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal. This as we're getting yet another reminder of the horrors of the Iraq war and the destruction ISIS continues to leave behind this time in Mosul in rare drone footage. CNN's Hala Gorani has more.
HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR, CORRESPONDENT: Jake the drone images were captured by a photographer Gabriel Chaim exclusively for CNN. They show the impact of the fight against ISIS in ways we've seen before. As the Iraqi army continues its offensive against the terrorist group in western Mosul we get this bird's eye view of what have life is like for people still left there and also the unbelievable destruction this war has caused. And we should warn our viewers, they may find some of these pictures disturbing. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: A tender father and daughter moment in the most brutal of landscapes. Their home is only half standing. The city around them obliterated. These exclusive drone pictures obtained by CNN show the scale of destruction on the front lines of western Mosul. Neighborhoods newly freed from ISIS by Iraqi forces. As Iraq's Elite Golden Division rolls in its armored vehicles, ISIS retreats paying a heavy price. Bodies of its fighters still lie where they fell. So recently recaptured is this neighborhood that the black flag of ISIS still flutters overhead. The streets below eerily deserted. A makeshift roadblock from where ISIS fought only weeks ago still standing. In the video dark smoke from burning tires and debris billows across the skyline. Desperate attempts by ISIS to hide themselves from airstrikes. Here the camera captures an explosion thought to be had a mortar hitting a building, a reminder that fighting rages on only meters away. After months of street-to-street battle between ISIS and Iraqi forces and pounding from coalition airstrikes, the scale of devastation in this part of Mosul is difficult to take in. And these drone images, it seems every building, every street, every car is shattered. Nothing left to support human life. So the civilians are forced to flee, clutching their children and their few belongings. Who knows what future lies before them as they join the millions of other refugees running from this war, and for those who stay behind picking through the splintered remains of their lives, moments of joy still possible before they are lost again in this bleak and dusty scene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GORANI: And, of course, Jake, the battle for Mosul is not over, not by a long shot. It started in October, but ISIS is still holding on to some key pockets in the western half of the city, so sadly we're going to continue to see more of these devastating images in the coming weeks. The tragedy of Iraq's second largest city is not over yet. Jake.
TAPPER: Hala Gorani, thank you so much. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper or you can tweet the show @theleadcnn or follow us on Facebook. That's it for THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper. Now, I now turn you over to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer he's right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM HOST: Happening now, meeting with dictators.