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Hawaii to Change Protocol after False Missile Alert; Trump Denies Vulgar Comment, Attacks Durbin; Queen Grants Rare Conversation about Coronation. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired January 15, 2018 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:30:00] SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: State Representative Matt LoPresti's family was enjoying a relaxed Saturday morning. Suddenly, they were worrying about nuclear annihilation. The family gathered in the bathroom and began praying.
REP. MATTHEW LOPRESTI (D), HAWAII: We all just got down, got in the tub. We were waiting for a flash, and I was going to cover the kids with my body.
SIDNER: What are your children saying to you?
LOPRESTI: While my eldest was praying, she stopped and she looked at me and said, daddy, are we at war? And I had to say yes. And she just looked at me and said, why? And all I could do was hug her.
SIDNER: Panic ensued. Students ran for cover on campus. For 38 minutes, citizens had no idea the message was sent by mistake.
Inside Diamond Head crater in this bunker is where the state warning point is. This is where the mistake originated.
An officer brought the wrong template up on the computer, and then the computer asked whether or not you want to send out the message and someone clicked yes.
It all happened during what was supposed to be a routine drill. The officer who sent the erroneous message to the public has been reassigned during an investigation.
Retired Army Major General Vern Miyagi is the head of the team.
SIDNER: What would you like to say to those who are angry, who were terrified, whose children were afraid?
MAJ. GEN. VERY MIYAGI (RET.), ADMINISTRATOR, HAWAII'S EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY: For my side, I just want to apologize for this. It should not have happened. We're taking steps to fix this so it never happens again.
SIDNER: So why did it take so long to send the false alarm message? Well, that message hadn't been created.
MIYAGI: One thing that we've done is that there is a cancellation button right now. That if we trigger this again, a false alarm, there's a button right there that will cancel it immediately.
SIDNER: In the months leading up to the mistake, Hawaii had become the first state in the nation to test its attack alert sirens. It hadn't done so since the end of the Cold War.
The red-hot rhetoric between America and North Korea certainly played a role in the renewed effort to prepare the public. The false alarm, though, officials say, was never part of that plan.
LOPRESTI: The biggest problem now, Sara, is that, are people going to believe the system next time?
SIDNER: We do now know that that worker was, basically, put on leave for a little bit and has been reassigned from that particular area.
I do want to mention, though, that the Emergency Management Agency has been trying to get people here to prepare in case something like this does happen.
This was one of those wake-up calls, but they really apologized very profusely for having people learn about it this way -- Brooke.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Thirty-eight minutes. Dads dropping kids in, you know, manholes, and preparing for the end.
Sarah Sidner, I just can't imagine. Thank you so much. For us, in Hawaii.
To discuss, David Sanger, who was writing about this all weekend long, CNN political and national security analyst and national security correspondent for "The New York Times."
I mean, David, I was following you all weekend on Twitter. You tweeted -- for those keeping comparative stopwatch readings on what happened in Hawaii, if a missile was ever fired from North Korea to Honolulu, elapsed time to impact: 32 to 37 minutes. This morning, elapsed time to correct false alert: about 38 minutes.
I mean, how significant of an alert failure was this?
DAVID SANGER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, certainly, for the panic it caused and for the alert system, it was a very major failure. The failure was -- came in several stages. First of all, you always want to have your testing screens on a completely different screen than sending out this -- the real alert.
Secondly, you always want to have two people, two sets of eyes, at a minimum, on pressing the button for the real alert just as you'd want two people in a nuclear silo having to turn the keys if you were going to do a launch. It's just that important that you get it right.
Then, of course, you want to make sure you have a system for recalling alerts if there is an error like this, if it turns out that there really had been a missile launch but it wasn't headed to Hawaii, you know, all kinds of things that you might want to be prepared for.
So Hawaii was not in a good place for this. All told, though, Brooke --
SANGER: -- it was better than the alternative, which would be to have a false alert coming out of the military of a missile launch that didn't really happen.
And, of course, in the Cold War, we saw many of those, including the terrifying one in 1979 when it looked like, for a while, that 200 Soviet missiles were headed to the U.S. And it turned out someone had put a training tape into the NORAD system.
BALDWIN: What do you think -- let me throw this at you. What do you think North Korea, watching this panic, watching that it didn't get fixed for 38 minutes, what do you think North Korea is thinking about this?
[15:35:02] SANGER: Well, they probably, on the one hand, had a little bit of amusement that there was a fear in the United States triggered by something that North Korea didn't do in this case.
But the fact of the matter is -- I think this came up in the taped segment that you showed there -- that there is now a concern about whether people would actually believe the system.
BALDWIN: Take it seriously!
BALDWIN: Yes! It's a valid concern.
SANGER: Yes. Yes, it's a very valid concern because what if the North Koreans threatened? They have threatened to do tests that actually demonstrate that they can reach either the continental United States or Hawaii.
And they've also threatened an atmospheric nuclear test. Now, depending on where that was detonated, you would then have, if it was atmospheric, a radioactive cloud moving around.
And that's something for which we would really want to warn people to take shelter. You wouldn't have the blast effects, but you certainly would want people to shelter in place if there was a radioactive cloud moving.
BALDWIN: And you wouldn't want to have a crying wolf situation because we know what happened, you know, this last time. People do need to take it seriously.
SANGER: Yes, absolutely.
BALDWIN: On Kim Jong-un, I'm sure you've seen the clip, but for people who haven't, Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State, talking to David Axelrod on his "AXE FILES" show over the weekend, says this about KJU.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I think Kim Jong-un is turning out, much more so than I thought, to be actually pretty clever. The approach to the South Koreans was clever. The decision to go to the Olympics is clever.
I think he is more isolated than his father was, perhaps certainly more reckless. I wonder sometimes if he really believes it when he says I can destroy the United States because anybody who tells him something he doesn't want to hear seems to get killed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Do you agree, David? Do you think he is clever?
SANGER: I think Secretary Rice had it exactly right. I mean, there was a period of time when Americans like to, you know, look at Kim Jong-un, make fun of the haircut, you know, think about parodies of him in various movies. He's turned out to be a pretty canny strategist.
And as Secretary Rice suggests there, the move with South Korea, which a country that, for years, Kim Jong-un has basically ignored, saying he only wanted to negotiate with the United States, was a pretty brilliant move.
Because he recognized that he had a moment to peel away President Moon, the President of South Korea, at a moment that the South Koreans are most concerned about having a successful, threat-free Olympics, and he's using that to try to drive a wedge in the South Korea/U.S. alliance. And it might work.
BALDWIN: David Sanger, thank you as always. Talk again, my friend.
SANGER: Great to be with you, Brooke.
BALDWIN: In 2018, the President of the United States declaring once again, by the way, that he is not a racist after his vulgar comments about African nations. New fallout today and ridiculous back and forth between the people who were actually in the room.
Also ahead, Mitt Romney takes a swipe at the President as reports are in suggesting that he is going to run for Senate in Utah. So would he be a friend or a foe to the President? Someone who knows him well joins me live.
[15:42:43] BALDWIN: Just in to us here, this ridiculous war of words about what happened inside that White House meeting in which the President, we're told, made vulgar comments about African countries. He just gave us a new chapter and a new nickname.
Let me read this President -- this presidential tweet for you that he just put out moments ago. He tweets -- Senator Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting. Deals can't get made when there is no trust. Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our military.
So with me now, former RNC spokesman and Mitt Romney adviser, Kevin Sheridan.
Hello, my friend.
KEVIN SHERIDAN, FORMER SPOKESMAN AND DIRECTOR OF REGIONAL MEDIA, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Good to see you.
BALDWIN: Listen -- I mean, you listen to all these different voices of these different people who were in the room. We know someone is lying. We know that.
On policy, though, Kevin, the President is setting this up to be a Democrat versus Dreamers and the military.
SHERIDAN: Yes, and his -- you know, his tweet is obviously very Trumpian and kind of incendiary in the way that it makes fun of Dick Durbin.
But there is a lot of truth to that, that the Democrats don't necessarily want a DACA deal. It seems that they would rather play politics with it despite what they're saying publicly.
So, you know, he is putting his own spin on it, but this is the argument. And it's making it tougher for Republicans to come to the table because Democrats really, at the end of the day, aren't giving anything to Republicans.
They're just demanding a clean DACA that they -- what they call a clean DACA, a different version from what the President calls a clean DACA, but they don't want to give anything for that.
And so I think we're more likely probably now to be looking at kicking the can down the road again and having to do another extension into February for a temporary short-term spending. That's unfortunate, but, look, the sides just don't seem to be very close right now on DACA.
BALDWIN: Sure. And just because we don't have a Democrat sitting here, obviously, they would take issue with, you know, the playing politics point and that they -- talking about the 700,000 or 800,000 Dreamers in this country and that they're just, you know, looking out for them.
But the real question, I think, to your point, is, are they willing to shut the government down over this? And that, we don't know yet.
In this whole firestorm, you know, the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, is still silent. Is that stunning to you?
SHERIDAN: Well, he hasn't been asked in the public setting about it that I'm aware of. But if he is --
BALDWIN: But does he need to be asked --
SHERIDAN: -- I'm sure he will say something.
BALDWIN: -- to make a comment about the President and racism?
SHERIDAN: Look, every one of these senators and members of Congress have been asked a hundred times about different tweets and different things that President Trump has said. They almost always have critiqued him on it, and I expect they will continue to.
[15:45:08] When Paul Ryan was asked about it, he said it was unfortunate and not helpful. I think you'll see others continue to do that, but they're in the middle of tough negotiations right now. They're not going to be putting out, necessarily, statements, all of them, on this and -- but when they are asked, I think you're going to hear more from it.
BALDWIN: So listening to you, though, he hasn't put out a statement. Should he put out a statement? He is the leader of the Republicans on the Senate side, and the President is being called a racist.
SHERIDAN: Technically, I don't know. I think you could go either way on that, but I don't think there's any mistaking that Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump are not the same people.
You know, Paul Ryan and anybody that knows Paul Ryan or knows Mitch McConnell knows they're very different types of Republicans from --
SHERIDAN: -- or types of leaders from President Trump. They just don't talk the same way. They don't approach issues the same way. But their agendas overlap, and they do work together where they can.
SHERIDAN: And I think that's what's important to remember.
BALDWIN: Quick question, 20 seconds, Mitt Romney, if he runs, would he be friend or foe of the President?
SHERIDAN: I think he's going to be Mitt Romney, and I think Governor Romney brings a lot to the table. He'd be excellent for Utah if he decides to do it. He won that state by, you know, almost 50 points in the 2016 election.
I think he would -- he'd be an excellent addition to the Senate. I think when he can agree with the President, he will. And when he disagrees with him, like today, he'll probably speak out again.
You know, he comes at this from a very unique position. He's an elder statesman in the party. And he is somebody with a constituency that's not necessarily going to care so much if the President is mad at him, so he'll have, actually, more leeway to speak out when he wants to. And I think you'll continue to hear his honest take on things.
BALDWIN: Very diplomatic answer of you, Kevin Sheridan. Thank you.
BALDWIN: Thank you so much on that.
Next here, Queen Elizabeth says her crown is heavy enough to break her neck, five whole pounds. One of the many candid admissions in this rare interview with the Queen.
[15:50:26] BALDWIN: She is one of the most famous women in the world. Often seen, rarely heard. But now, Queen Elizabeth granting a conversation with a journalist on the 65th anniversary of her coronation seen here back in 1953.
And as Max Foster reports, Her Majesty had some pretty blunt observations about the occasion.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Queen Elizabeth watching footage of her own coronation for the first time since being crowned 65 years ago.
Her Majesty speaking openly about her procession from Buckingham Palace in this stunning Gold State Coach weighing nearly four tons bound for Westminster Abbey.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, UNITED KINGDOM: Horrible. It's not meant for turbulence or -- I mean, it's just not -- it's only sprung on leather.
ALASTAIR BRUCE, SKY NEWS ROYAL, RELIGIOUS AND NATIONAL EVENTS COMMENTATOR: So it rocks around a lot.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: It is not very comfortable.
BRUCE: Were you in it for a long time?
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Halfway around London.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: We must have gone about four or five miles. We can only go at a walking pace.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: The horses couldn't possibly go any faster.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: It was so heavy. FOSTER (voice-over): The Queen offering her candid thoughts about the
Imperial State Crown which only three people are even allowed to touch.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: It's much smaller, isn't it? I mean, it was --
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: It was the same height. You know, it would be -- it would have been up to about there when my father wore it.
BRUCE: And it was huge then.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Yes. Very unwieldy.
FOSTER (voice-over): Britain's longest reigning monarch describing the rigors of wearing such a heavy crown with its lavish diamonds and precious stones.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Fortunately, my father and I have about the same sort of shaped head. But once you put on it, it stays. I mean, it just remains itself.
BRUCE: You have to keep your head very still.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Yes. And you can't look down to read the speech. You have to take the speech up. Because if you did, your neck would break. It would fall off.
So there are some disadvantages to crowns, but otherwise, they're quite important things.
BALDWIN: Some disadvantages to crowns, she says.
Victoria Arbiter is with me, our CNN royal commentator. I mean, it's just so rare to actually hear her voice. I was reading about this interview. It was 20 years in the making for the BBC.
VICTORIA ARBITER, CNN ROYAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. You know, it's such a delight hearing her recollection.
ARBITER: And this is the first time a British monarch has ever spoken on film about their coronation. Not surprising because it's been 65 years since we had another monarch.
There's only been a hundred -- there's only been two coronations over the course of a hundred years. And the Queen remains the only person alive that was a central figure in both of those coronations, so this is an amazing historic record for generations to come.
BALDWIN: OK, so we get it, there's a lot of bling. There's a lot happening on the crown. It's five pounds. It's heavy. She says it's like it could break your neck. In just a minute, tell me what else we learned.
ARBITER: What was most exciting to me, actually, there's been so many rumors over the years about what happened to the crown jewels during World War II when the King decided he didn't want the Nazis to get their hands on them.
So many of the stones were extracted from the crowns, and they were wrapped in cloth and put in a biscuit tin --
BALDWIN: No way.
ARBITER: -- and buried in the bowels of Windsor Castle. And during this film, the Queen only learns about this for the first time. She spent the war years at Windsor Castle, but, of course, she was a child so no one shared anything.
And she quite astutely says, well, what happens if the one person who had known where they were had died? Fortunately, he didn't.
But she also -- it's very clear that the jewels, it's not really about the jewels for the Queen. She's really not into a lot of fuss and bother. It's more about the symbolism that is associated with each of those jewels.
[15:55:08] And it was quite remarkable insight because this was also the first time that she was seeing Saint Edward's Crown which is only used for the moment of crowning in a coronation.
She was seeing it for the first time and kind of manhandling the crown as she went. I think everyone was sort of aghast when she yanked it towards her.
ARBITER: They're like, that's the crown.
ARBITER: But, to her, it's --
BALDWIN: She's the Queen. It's OK.
ARBITER: -- what she wears on the job.
BALDWIN: Oh, my God. Victoria Arbiter, thank you so much. I just know my mom is going to devour this documentary.
ARBITER: Thank you.
BALDWIN: All things royal family. Thank you so much.
Coming up next here, more on the news just in. The President with a new nickname and a new blame game over his vulgar comments within the White House. Stay tuned.