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More Than 1,000 Strong, Heading Towards The United States; Teachers In Oklahoma Are Planning A Walkout And A Rally At Their State Capitol; Pope Francis Is Using This Easter Sunday To Bring Global Attention To Have The Plights Of Migrants Around The Globe; President Trump's Attorney Is On Hot Seat; National Security Council Will Meet On Tuesday To Discuss Syria; Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 1, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALLISON KOSIK, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: -- it will sell shares directly to investors. That saves it hundreds of millions in fees but could also mean a volatile start. On Friday the government releases the March jobs report and all eyes will be on wage growth.
In January wages grew at the fastest pace since 2009 sparking a huge sell-off. Last month growth was modest prompting a 150-point jump for the Dow. Investors worry strong growth could signal inflation leading to faster interest rate hikes. We will have to see if Friday's report triggers more selling or another market boost.
In New York, I'm Allison Kosik.
[19:00:44] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Top of the hour. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for spending part of your holiday weekend with us.
Right now, south of the U.S. border in Mexico a mass of people who is on the move, more than 1,000 strong, heading towards the United States.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
CABRERA: These are people mostly from central and south America. And what they are doing is part pilgrimage and part political protest because many of them say when they get to the U.S. border they are going to try and cross it and stay in the United States.
This so-called caravan prompted a tweet from the President this morning. His words, Mexico is doing very little if not nothing at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their southern border and then into the U.S. They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. He ends with need wall. President Trump commented further this morning as he and the first lady went to church in south Florida. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mexico has got to help us at the border. They flow right through Mexico. They send them into the United States. Can't happen that way anymore.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Also today the man leading the race to be Mexico's next leader has a message for President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRES MANUEL LOPEZ OBRADOR, MEXICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): Mexico and its people will not be the Pinata of any foreign government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN's Leyla Santiago is in Mexico City right now and White House correspondent Boris Sanchez is in South Florida traveling with the President.
Leyla, this candidate for the Mexican presidency, the front-runner, he says Mexico is not a pinata. Tell us more about what you are hearing there?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well listen, what led up to that comment in particular he said that Mexico will respect the U.S. but that Mexico also demands that exact respect. And he also went on to say that use of force and the wall are no way to solve social and security problems.
Now that comes from Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. He is known AS (INAUDIBLE) here. And he is the front-runner at this time to be Mexico's next President. The election is coming up in July.
But I also want to read to you another response to President Trump today and that comes from Mexico's foreign minister, Luis Videgaray Caso. He actually tweeted this afternoon. And I quote.
"Every day Mexico and the U.S. work together on migration throughout the region. Facts clearly reflect this. And inaccurate news report should not serve to question this strong cooperation upholding human dignity and rights is not at odds with the rule of law." He also added, Happy Easter.
Now this comes on the same week that Secretary Nielsen actually visited Mexico. So some collaboration there from homeland security and Mexican officials, that's likely what the foreign minister, examples like that, what he's talking about. But it also comes as President Trump mentions caravans to the United States, you know, during holy week here in Mexico they have what they call Via Krusis (ph). These are, as you mentioned, sort of a pilgrimage, a religious march to heading north, and for some people, this particular group that you are looking at right here with more than a thousand people, they are using it as a way to make a statement. They are using it as a way to reflect the violent and poverty that they are fleeing from Central America.
They say that they will be making this march throughout the next few days, possibly the next few weeks, and they will make it to the U.S., some of them will make it to the U.S./Mexico border and some will seek asylum.
So it's sort of, as you said, part religion, part political. And they would argue, part humanitarian as they make a statement through these marches in Mexico - Ana.
CABRERA: Boris, back to what the President is saying. He fired up a bunch of tweets this morning including one that said no deal on DACA in big capital letters. But we have heard him say that sort of thing before, only to reverse himself. So how are U.S. lawmakers taking this?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, it is questionable whether the President is marking a complete shift in policy here or he was just venting on what he saw on a cable news network early this morning. A report on this caravan, so-called caravan of immigrants moving through Central America and in Mexico that apparently frustrated him and he felt he had to send out these tweets.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are responding, pointing out the incongruity in President Trump sending this message on immigration on Easter Sunday, not exactly the most merciful tone from President Trump.
I want to read to you now a tweet sent out by Democratic representative Eric Swalwell of California. He quoted a bible verse. He writes quote "you must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember you, yourselves, were once foreigners in the land of Egypt." That is from Exodus 22:21. He then writes, Happy Easter, Mr. President.
Now a Republican from South Florida, (INAUDIBLE), also occasionally a critic of President Trump's writes quote "such a strong message of love and new beginnings from the President on Easter Sunday." And then with a bit of emoji humor she seems to indicate that she was trying to be ironic there.
We also heard from the congressional Hispanic caucus. They put out a statement also kind of going off the theme of Easter. They write quote "on Easter, it is important to remember that Jesus, Mary and Joseph as immigrants and refugees sought a place to live and work hoping for a compassionate human response."
Now, Ana, as you noted, the President has been on a multitude of places when it comes to the issue of DACA. It's unclear exactly why he decided to go this route now saying that a DACA deal is off the table when weeks ago several different iterations of a DACA deal stalled in congress, and ultimately didn't get anywhere - Ana.
[19:06:40] CABRERA: All right. Boris Sanchez in South Florida, Leyla Santiago in Mexico City. Thank you both.
A quick reminder how we got here on DACA. You will recall, September 5th President Trump announced he was ending the DACA program, he ponds (ph) to Congress to come up with a solution. And on January 9th, the President holds the bipartisan televised meeting with lawmakers where he says he is willing to compromise, and he suggests he will sign whatever lawmakers bring him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This group could -- comes back hopefully with an agreement, this group and others, from the Senate and from the House, comes back with an agreement. I'm signing it. I mean, I will be signing it. I'm not going to say, gee, I want this or that. I will be signing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: That's not what happened. Two days later on January 11th, Trump rejected a bipartisan deal that included a pathway to citizenship and funded his border wall for one year. This is the same meeting where he referred to African countries as s-holes.
Well, one week later the President rejected another offer from Democratic leader Chuck Schumer that would have given the President $20 billion for his wall in exchange for a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers.
And a month later in February, a bipartisan group of senators unveiled a new plan, which included $25 billion for the President's border wall in exchange for a pathway to citizenship. The White House then fought to stop that deal from passing. Throughout the series of rejections the President has repeatedly blamed Democrats for not wanting to reach a deal on DACA.
Let's discuss this with CNN's senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. He is the senior editor for "the Atlantic."
Ron, do you think President Trump ever actually intended to make a deal on DACA?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No. Because I think what happened was he extended his demands beyond issues dealing with undocumented immigration where Democrats, as you point out, were willing to give him essentially full funding for his border wall in return for the DACA legal status. He extended his demands to include significant reductions in legal immigration. And that ultimately was the bridge or wall too far that prevented congressional agreement. He wanted to reduce legal immigration by 40 percent, the biggest reduction since the 1920s. And when Democrats would not accept that --
CABRERA: Part of that four-pillar plan?
BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Right, that was really, I think, the piece that was, again, the wall too far. I mean, there are so many things in the statements today, in the tweets today, that are incorrect. I mean, it requires a minute to kind of go through them.
I mean, first of all, the idea that people would be coming here to take advantage of DACA, DACA requires you to be continuously living in the United States since June 15th, 2007, period, full stop. No one who has not been here continuously since then. And it also requires you to have been physically present in June of 2012. So the idea people are coming here to take advantage for DACA is completely wrong.
And whatever the merits of a caravan like this may be, Ana, in terms of making a point, it obscures the larger truth. The undocumented population of the U.S. by the best estimates peaked in 2007. It was a million lower than in 2007. There are 1.3 million fewer undocumented Mexicans in the U.S. than there were in 2007. And apprehensions at the Mexican border, rather than this idea of a flood coming over, it was 1.6 million in 2000. It was about 200,000 in 2016.
In fact, the success of NAFTA and helping to create more economic opportunity in Mexico has reduced the pressure on the border, and that's why what the President was saying was so illogical today, the idea you are going to, you know, revoke NAFTA, which would then create, in the long run, more pressure on the border by undermining the Mexican economy. It just doesn't even add up logically internally.
[19:10:31] CABRERA: I just have to say, Ron, I'm always so impressed how your mind is like a steel trap in the way you are able to process and remember things, all this data, all these numbers, all this information. It's very -- it's quite impressive.
BROWNSTEIN: You know, the trajectory on undocumented immigration has been very clear, right. I mean, it's moving, you know, the two-thirds -- one other piece of data that is relevant here. Two-thirds of the undocumented immigrants in the U.S., the estimates are, have now been here for ten years or more, you know. And it was two-fifths ten years ago or so.
The flow has dramatically reduced, and it's reduced because of tougher and better and smarter enforcement in the U.S. But it also reduced largely because NAFTA has succeed in creating more economic opportunity in Mexico. So the idea of threatening Mexico by revoking NAFTA is kind of shooting yourself in the foot in you are concerned about undocumented immigration. Because without NAFTA, certainly, there would be more pressure of people coming to the U.S. to look for work.
CABRERA: I want to put back real quick the tweet from the Hispanic caucus today on Easter. It is important to remember that Jesus, Mary and Joseph as immigrants and refugees sought a place to live and work hoping for a compassionate human response. About the timing of today's tweets. It is Easter, Ron, we know a large part of the President's base is evangelical.
CABRERA: What do you think they make of this?
BROWNSTEIN: You know, I think a large part of the President's base, you know, is with him on this issue. I mean, one of the biggest predictors of support for President Trump in 2016 was the belief that immigrants are weakening rather than strengthening American society. But, of course, in the country overall the majority is on the other side. And while Americans do want a rule of law, they do not want the border to be open, they also want to be rational about this, and the polling, I have been writing about polls and immigration since the early 1990s, and it's consistently 60 percent or more, it is even higher now, of Americans support some kind of legal status for the undocumented who are here today. And the wall has consistently been opposed by 60 percent or more of the country. That doesn't mean they want -- they want to eliminate border enforcement or think anybody wants to come into the U.S. should be allowed to, but it does mean they want a reasonable and rational policy, and by and large they believe the people who have been here, who have not gotten into trouble with the law other than the fact of their illegal crossing should be allowed to stay in some kind of legal status.
CABRERA: And yet, after multiple administrations, there is no legislation that has making that happen.
Ron Brownstein, thanks for your time, and happy Easter.
BROWNSTEIN: Sure. Happy Easter to you.
CABRERA: Still ahead this hour, from classrooms to capital teachers in several states, making their voices heard, demanding changes to pay and pensions.
Plus, mysterious crash, court documents revealing the SUV that plunged off a California cliff was traveling 90 miles per hour when it slammed into the rocks.
And later, serious stunner, President Trump shocking his own administration by suggesting the U.S. plans to exit Syria soon.
Ahead, fallout from this off script moment. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:17:46] CABRERA: There is a growing chorus of public school teachers in several states now making their voices heard outside the classroom and in state capitals. More than 20 Kentucky counties were forced to close schools Friday after educators called out sick or submitted requests for substitutes over a bill that overhauls their state pension. And tomorrow teachers in Oklahoma are planning a walkout and a rally at their state capitol. Lawmakers there already approves a pay hike for teachers but they say it is not enough.
Nick Valencia is joining us now.
Nick, there is seems to be a chain reaction of sort happening. Teachers went on strike in West Virginia last month. They actually got what they wanted. Is that what has seemed to have set off this latest round?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly didn't hurt the momentum that we are seeing across the country, Ana. But I talked a little while ago to the national education association. And they claim that they think this would have happened anyway. This is just been such a big issue for teachers across the country for so long trying to get more pay, trying to get more value put on educators across the country. They thought that Oklahoma would have happened anyway, here, especially, teachers say it's especially bad for their salary.
They are ranked 49 out of 50 with average salary, first year teachers getting paid about $31,000 a year, only Mississippi is worst. And it's especially about as well for people funding. The average people funding is near the bottom of the list as well.
We saw earlier this week the legislators here in Oklahoma pass about $447 million of revenue that they were going to appropriate towards education. But again from the NEA, they say they may have passed that, but right now, at this hour, the funding for that salary that they allege should be offering to teachers at $6100, the funding for that, they say, is still not there -- Ana.
CABRERA: Quickly, Nick, what is if plan then for teachers who will head to the capital tomorrow?
VALENCIA: Well, here's an interesting note. There's about 500 school districts in Oklahoma, only 200 of them so far have committed to this. I asked the national education association what do you say to those teachers not joining you in this walkout tomorrow. They say they can't really criticize teachers that are already going through financial hardships, are in dire financial straits. They say it really speaks to the issue here in the low salaries that teachers are having to get second and third jobs. And in case tomorrow for the walkout, they can't even afford to miss class for a day -- Ana.
[19:20:03] CABRERA: Well, Nick Valencia there in Oklahoma City. Thank you.
Still no answers into what caused an SUV carrying a family of eight to plunge off a California cliff six days ago. However, our CNN affiliate KPTV has obtained some court documents revealing the car which is believed to have carried two adults and six children was going 90 miles an hour when it crashed 100 feet down into the Pacific Ocean. Three of the adopted children are still missing. The bodies of two adults and the other three children have been found.
Just days before this crash officials in Washington State confirmed that they were investigating the family over alleged abuse or neglect. And among the missing is 15-year-old Devante who drew national headlines for this picture. He appeared in a touching photo at a protest a few years ago.
Coming up, Pope Francis is using this Easter Sunday to bring global attention to have the plights of migrants around the globe. Next, the remarkable story of the man the pontiff just baptized.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Don't go away.
[19:25:31] CABRERA: Pope Francis delivering a plea for peace in a world marked by war and conflict during his Easter mass from the Vatican. The pontiff called for peace. It began with Syria and extended to the entire Middle East, the Korean peninsula and parts of Africa. Tens of thousands of faithful Catholics crowding into St. Peters square today eager to hear the Pope's message. And there was this touching moment, Pope Francis baptized a Nigerian migrant turned heron during his Eastern service. The Nigerian man confronted a thief armed with a meat cleaver inside a Rome for his act of bravery was hailed by the Italian press.
Speaking of the Pope, CNN's new episode of "Pope, the most wonderful powerful man in history," I added a word there, powerful man in history, airing tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific. Here's a sneak peek.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he says I'm not a king, I'm an emperor. And emperors are accountable to nobody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1534, four years after Henry VIII's initial request for annulment, he denounces the papacy, removing himself and his country from the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church. He proclaims himself the leader of a new church, the Church of England.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Henry says I decide that I'm not married to Katherine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He divorces his nice catholic wife. He marries (INAUDIBLE). And now he is the head of a church. So he can take down catholic priest. He can put down people who don't follow his particular faith and (INAUDIBLE). And as a result, it ends up destroying the Catholic Church for a time in England.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He tore the kingdom apart with his break from Rome.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have words of religion within England. We have words of religion between France and England, with France being more loyal to the Pope and England more loyal to Henry. The entire religious landscape becomes weaponized.
CABRERA: A new episode of "Pope, the most powerful man in history" airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.
Up next in the NEWSROOM, he has been called Donald Trump's fixer. But the long-time attorney Michael Cohen may have just met a challenge, maybe never like this one before. Our Gloria Borger takes a look at the man who may or may not be the one to get the President out of legal trouble.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:32:19] CABRERA: He has been called Trump's mini me, his pit-bull, his fixer. But now longtime attorney Michael Cohen finds himself at the center of a scandal involving the President and a porn star.
CNN's Gloria Borger investigates.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Ana, Michael Cohen has become a key player in the Stormy Daniels saga. But he has been fixing problems for Donald Trump for more than a decade.
BORGER (voice-over): In the soap opera in which a porn star accepts a payoff to keep quiet about her affair with Donald Trump. There's got to be a guy who gets it done.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS' ATTORNEY: Where is Michael Cohen?
Where's Mr. Cohen?
Where is this guy?
Where is this guy?
BORGER: Michael Cohen is where he has been since 2007, standing behind Donald Trump, or closer in his backs pocket.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael was, I would like to say, the Ray Donovan of the office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll take care of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He took care of what had to be taken care of. I don't know what had to be taken care of, but all I know is Michael was taking care of it.
DAVID SCHWARTZ, MICHAEL COHEN'S ATTORNEY: He is the guy that you could call 3:00 in the morning when you have a problem.
BORGER: Do you know stories of Donald Trump calling at 3:00 in the morning?
SCHWARTZ: Donald Trump has called him at all hours of the night. Every dinner I have been out with Michael, the boss has called.
BORGER: But Cohen did not call the boss, he says, when he decided to pay Stormy Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket, 11 days before the election.
AVENATTI: I think it is ludicrous.
BORGER: Do believe 100 percent Donald Trump.
AVENATTI: One hundred percent.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, TRUMP BIOGRAPHER: There is not a meeting that takes place. There is not an expenditure that is authorized that he doesn't know. BORGER: Cohen wouldn't go on the record for this piece, but his
friends claim it is all part of his job in Trump world, giving the boss deniability and protection.
SCHWARTZ: If you know the relationship between the two people, he took care of a lot of things for Mr. Trump without Mr. Trump knowing about it. That is part of the overall structure that Michael had great latitude to take care of matters.
BORGER: And Michael Cohen, Trump hired his conciliar, a version of his longtime mentor, the lawyer Roy Cohn, a controversial pit-bull and aggressive defender of all things Trump, no questions ask.
After D'Antonio finished his book on Trump, he got the Cohen treatment in what turned out to be an empty threat.
D'ANTONIO: Then he got mad. And that was for huge just fire yourself and f'ing lawsuit buddy. I will see you in court.
BORGER: In 2011, Michael Cohen described his job this way.
MICHAEL COHEN, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: My job is I protect Mr. Trump. That's what it is. If there is an issue that relates to Mr. Trump that is of concern to him, it is of course concern to me. And I will use my legal skills within which to protect Mr. Trump to best of my ability.
[19:35:13] BORGER: Cohen, as sometimes Democrat, first came to Trump's attention after buying apartments in Trump developments. Then went to the math for Trump against one of his condo boards (ph) and one.
SCHWARTZ: Trump loved him for it. I mean, that was the beginning of it. And then after that they became close. It was much more than an attorney-client relationship. It was something much deeper, almost father and son kind of kind of thing. Always hot and cold. Donald Trump could be yelling at him one second and saying he is the greatest person in the world the next second. Donald Trump knew that Michael always had his back.
BORGER: For Trump, it wasn't about pedigree. Cohen who is 51 got his degree from Western Michigan's Cooley law school. And had some initial success in the less than gentile world of New York taxi cab medallion.
SAM NUNBERG, TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE: If you look where Michael came from in his legal career, before he started working for Trump board, it wasn't like he came from a white shoe law firm. He came from, you know, a hard knows New York trial firm.
Trump has an eye for talent. And this was somebody that I mean he used to call him his bulldog, his tough guy.
BORGER: At the Trump organization, he has done a bit of everything - running a mix martial arts company, securing real estate branding deals and even taking care of transportation. NUNBERG: You know, the famous Trump plane, there was an engine issue
that he actually took care of and got really a good deal on.
SCHWARTZ: Watching him is like a reality show. He has got three phones. He has got the hardline. He has got two lines. He is texting. He is on the computer.
D'ANTONIO: You can almost say this is Donald Trump's mini me. For a guy who started really in the middle class on Long Island, to now be quite wealthy himself, known internationally, and yes he is in a bit of a jam with the Russia scandal --
BORGER: In the eye not only of Stormy, but also of interest to the special counsel Bob Mueller and Congress.
COHEN: I look forward to getting all the information that the --
BORGER: During the campaign when Trump said he had no contact with Russia, Cohen was privately trying to cut a deal for a Trump tower Moscow. It never happened. But Mueller has asked about it.
NUNBERG: The sad reality is that Michael pursuing that Trump tower deal in December is just another factor that goes into this whole Russia narrative.
BORGER: Cohen's name was also in the infamous dossier, which alleges he traveled to Prague to meet with Russians. He has completely denied it. And is suing Buzz Feed, which published it.
SCHWARTZ: It's immeasurable, the damage that has been caused to him, to his family --
TRUMP: I will faithfully execute --
BORGER: When Trump became President, he did not bring his brash wingman to Washington.
Do you think he wanted to be in the White House? Be White House counsel, or --
D'ANTONIO: There must have been a part of him that was dreaming of a great job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But he is also the guy who not only knows where all the bodies are buried, he buried a lot of them himself. And that, ironically, disqualified him.
COHEN: They say I'm Mr. Trump's pit-bull, that I am his -- I'm his right-hand man. I mean, there's - I have been called many different things around here.
BORGER: Now he may be called to testify with the Stormy Daniels case in federal court.
SCHWARTZ: I know Michael Cohen for over 21 years. And I know that he will not rest. He will not sleep, he doesn't sleep anyway, right, until he recovers every single penny from Stormy that's due the LLC. AVENATTI: I have seen a lot of attorneys use intimidation tactics.
The problem is, is if that is your speed, and if you are a one trick pony, and you use that in every case, then all the sudden you run up against somebody that doubles down, and that isn't intimidated, well, then you are lost.
BORGER: Cohen flew to Mar-a-Lago to dine with the President the night before Stormy Daniels appeared on "60 Minutes." Because if you're Michael Cohen, you're the ultimate loyalist.
COHEN: The words the media should be using to describe Mr. Trump are generous, compassionate --
BORGER: And you still believe Donald Trump will be loyal --
COHEN: Kind, humble, honest and genuine.
BORGER: To you.
BORGER: And we are just going to have to wait and see how loyal Donald Trump will be - Ana.
CABRERA: Gloria Borger, thank you, such an interesting report.
Coming up, Trump's Syria surprise, the President stunning his own administration by saying the U.S. will be out of Syria very soon. We will break down the possible consequences in your weekend Presidential brief next.
[19:44:37] CABRERA: It was supposed to be a speech to sell President Trump's big infrastructure plan. But in the end the President went off script, and dropped a big surprise about Syria instead. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are knocking the hell out of ISIS. We will be coming out of Syria like very soon. Let the other people take care of it now. Very soon. Very soon we are coming out. We are going to have 100 percent of the caliphate, as they call it, sometimes referred to as land, we are taking it all back quickly, quickly. But we are going to be coming out of there real soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:45:11] CABRERA: Well, it turns out that off the cuff remark caught Trump's own team off guard. And sources now tell CNN that the national security council will meet on Tuesday to discuss Syria.
If President Trump does pull troops out it would be against the advice of Pentagon officials. And that brings us to your weekend Presidential brief, a segment we will bring to you every Sunday night with some of the key national security information the President will need when he makes up Monday morning.
And here to bring it to you CNN national security analyst and former national security council advisor, Sam Vinograd. She spent two years helping the president's daily brief in the Obama administration.
So Sam, if the President is listening tonight, what do you want to tell him?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, let's start with Syria. The President's remarks, whether fact or fiction in this decision to cut off Syrian relief funding, are probably drawing a pause from the wrong crowds around the world. The Syrian people, 500,000 or so who have died are probably dismayed.
We have 2,000 U.S. troops currently in Syria. They haven't stop the saga on fought, but if they are gone, what's really holding Assad back from attacking civilians more? And the President mentioned ISIS in the clip you just aired. After these remarks for ISIS this is probably just a wait and see game. If they know that the United States is drawing down, they can just use this time to reconstitute and wait for the United States to leave.
And Ana, we talk a lot about Russia. At this point Russia would be thrilled if the United States left Syria. Russia would have more room to maneuver, and could kind of pull this narrative forward that the United States is in retreat and that the United States is weak.
CABRERA: If Russia's feeling emboldened in Syria, do you see that translating to them feeling emboldened another areas?
VINOGRAD: I think that most definitely. I think that Russia, whenever they feel like they have the upper hand anywhere against the United States. They feel more emboldened, and can pursue more maligned behavior. Just this week, they had another really big week. The international community kicked out a lot of Russian diplomats and we saw Russia respond. It was a parody in response so far. They kicked out 60 U.S. diplomats after the U.S. kicked out 60 Russian diplomats.
But I'm concerned. Russia typically likes to up the ante. So I think we are going to see Vladimir Putin take more action and not less this week. This plays into this missile launch that we saw on Friday, the Satan 2 missile.
I don't think it's an accident that Putin released this footage the day after he kicked out diplomats. I think he was trying to show how powerful he is in light of the United States' statements just a few weeks ago. President Trump's statements, in fact, that Putin was moderating his tone on arms control, and that he and Putin had a positive call. So I think we are going to see the Russian take more action this week.
CABRERA: We think intercontinental ballistic missile. A lot of automatically think North Korea. Interesting relationship in Russia and North Korea. They are in some allies to some degree. What do you make of Russia's silence when it comes to Kim Jong-un's recent turn of event?
VINOGRAD: It's so unusual, right. And Putin isn't silent about much, particularly when it comes to his patron states like North Korea. So I think we could see Kim Jong-un's mystery train end up in Russia at some point. And I am very concerned about all these venues that Kim Jong-un is being invited to. Remember, Kim Jong-un hasn't done anything to deserve an invitation to Beijing, an invitation to South Korea, or we are hearing the Japanese, for example, want him to come for a visit. His nuclear program is at pace. Nothing has changed. So these invitation should be put on ice until Kim does something to deserve them.
CABRERA: Sam Vinograd, interesting. Good to have you. Thank you.
VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana. Happy Easter.
CABRERA: All right. Confronted with racial injustice, the Kennedys realize America needs civil rights legislation. "American Dynasties, the Kennedys," new episode tonight at 9:00 here on CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know their name. You don't know their whole story. A key battle over education brings the civil rights struggle to the fore front of Jack's mind, confronted with the violence, the standoffs, and the fundamental injustice, the Kennedys realize that America needs civil rights legislation now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All men are created equal, and at the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and a people. Those who do nothing are inviting shame as well as violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "American dynasties, the Kennedys," new episode tonight at 9:00 on CNN.
[19:54:08] CABRERA: Tonight on an all new episode of the CNN original series "American dynasties the Kennedys," we get at inside look how personal scandal threatened John F. Kennedy's marriage and the presidency. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Behind the perfect family image, Jack is anything but the perfect husband. He needed to indulge this phenomenal and really unseemly sex drive. It was for rich girls, poor girls, old girls, young girls, all girls all the time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two months after his wife's return, the President's birthday celebration takes place at a Democratic Party fund-raiser in New York's Madison square garden.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Kennedys and celebrity and showbiz went hand in hand. It's probably not surprising that JFK would have an affair with the most famous blonde bombshell movie star of her time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:55:11] CABRERA: Joining us now, Kay Anderson Brower, White House historian and author of "First Women, the Grace and power of America's modern first ladies."
Kate, good to see you. As we heard in the clip, the Kennedys' image as this perfect family didn't always match reality. How much of a problem were JFK's affairs and how did Jackie react to all of this?
KATE ANDERSON BROWER, AUTHOR, FIRST WOMAN: Well, they were a big problem for her. It sent her into a depression. She grew up with a father who was an alcoholic who had cheated on her mother. And so there was a sense some of this was expect. And JFK always lived his life like every day might be his last, you know. He suffered from Addison's disease and had a lot of surgeries. And so I think this kind of came with the territory a little bit. But Marilyn Monroe in this documentary, that affair really got her. And she did threaten to divorce him because of that which would have ruined his political career if she had.
CABRERA: Of course, we didn't have all these different outlets for information to be disseminated in the '60s. We didn't have social media. Media took a different approach to covering Presidents' personal lives than media does today. How much did the public actually know what President Kennedy was doing?
BROWER: They knew very little. I mean, a lot of reporters did know. Of course, he was very close to "the Washington Post's" Ben Bradley. They were friends. But there was a kind of gentleman's agreement that this wouldn't be shared with people and that was part of his private life. His personal life and a lot of journalists can really love him. This was an age when journalists were friends with the President and would actually hang out with him in the oval office and the residence of the White House. A very different media climate as you say.
CABRERA: So how did it threaten or did it even threaten this Camelot image he and Jackie worked so hard to cultivate?
BROWER: Well, it absolutely did. I mean, in retrospect, we all know, I think most Americans who are interested in history at all know that JFK cheated on his wife. It doesn't tarnish or lessen any of the accomplishments that he made as President. And Jackie really idolized him, during the Cuban missile crisis she said, you know, when we were on the brink of nuclear war, she said she would stay at the White House. She wanted to die with him rather than die without him. I mean, there was a real genuine love and affection. And there was a beautiful young family threw with two young children. I think that image, you know, still holds up even with all of his personal issues.
CABRERA: You can't talk about this subject without thinking about where we are today and our current President facing these allegations of marital infidelity, allegedly happening before he took office. What's your take how first lady Melania is handling this publicly and privately? BROWER: First ladies are expected to stand by their husbands. And we
saw this recently with Hillary Clinton. And, of course, with, Jackie Kennedy who Melania Trump has said in the past she really respects and idolizes. I think that her retreating to Mar-a-Lago kind of reminded me of a bit of what Jacquelyn Kennedy did when she would go off to Middle (INAUDIBLE), Virginia and ride horses and kind of be very private. And I think that we will see more of Melania, you know, doing the Easter egg roll tomorrow and kind of standing by her husband and, you know, holding his hand as she did at Easter services today. But I don't think we are going to see her coming out and addressing this head-on.
And there's a sense that maybe this is kind of beneath her to address head-on. And I certainly, you know, we never heard from Jacquelyn Kennedy. And even if she were alive today in this media climate, I could never imagine her talking about her husband's infidelity because she really worshipped him. But this marriage -- marriages are always impossible to see inside of. So it's a great question. People are fascinated by it. And it is less we know, the more curious I think we are.
CABRERA: No doubt about it, that mystery draws you in.
Real quickly, HLN host and conservative commentator S.E. Cupp, she implied in her recent column that first lady Melania Trump should leave the President to set an example for young women. We are in this era of Me Too. Any signs Melania would ever take that advice to heart?
BROWER: There are no outward signs of that. And I think polling has suggested that about half of Americans think she should and half of Americans think she shouldn't. I mean, the fact that Hillary Clinton didn't was actually detrimental to her in some ways when she ran in 2016 and in 2008. But we don't see any signs that she is going to leave him. And I would be shock if she did that certainly before he leaves office.
CABRERA: Kate Anderson Brower, thank you so much. Good to see you.
BROWER: Thank you.
CABRERA: Thanks for being with us this holiday weekend.
And as you just heard, it's a big premiere night on CNN, a brand-new Kennedys airs at 9:00. "Pope, the most powerful man in history" airs at 10:00.
That is going to do it for me for now. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for spending time with me.