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Trump: I Have "Everything" To Do With N.K. Breakthrough; Migrants Arrive at the U.S. Border, Expected to Seek Asylum; North Korea Says It Will Allow Inspections of Nuclear Site; Pompeo: We Remained Concerned About Iran's Escalation of Threats; Biting Comedy Overshadows White House Correspondents Dinner; Weed: Pot Vs. Pills Airs Tonight At 8P.M. ET. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired April 29, 2018 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:00] RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: -- re-election speech as a, quote, a big success while bashing the Annual White House correspondents dinner as a big, boring bust. And as journalists and politicians were gathered in Washington for a night of pointed jokes and jabs, the president also taking a few shots at his favorite targets.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The only collusion is the Democrats colluded with the Russians, and the Democrats colluded with lots of other people. They are very, very dishonest people.

Fake news. Comey's a liar and a leaker, and if our Justice Department was doing the right thing, they'd be a lot tougher right now on those people.


NOBLES: But he didn't stop there. The president also taking full credit for the North Korea breakthrough, basking in the crowd's praise as they chanted "Nobel".

CROWD: Nobel, Nobel, Nobel!

TRUMP: That's very nice, thank you.


NOBLES: The president also giving a timeline for his historic sit down with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un saying the meeting could happen in the next three to four weeks. CNN's Boris Sanchez joins us now live from the White House.

And Boris, the details of this meeting are starting to shape -- take shape. What more can you tell us?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Ryan, well, the president's new National Security adviser John Bolton was on one of the Sunday morning talk shows and he kind of outlined some of the discussions that these two leaders, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are going to have. It's not just the denuclearization that's on the table, also for discussion are North Korea's ballistic missiles program. Also their chemical and biological weapons program, as well as several Americans that are currently imprisoned in North Korea.

Aside from that, a plethora of regional issues, and of course, sanctions which the administration believes is ultimately what has led Kim Jong-un now to the negotiating table. Bolton was cautiously optimistic in light of recent comments reportedly made by the North Korean leader saying that he's not the kind of person that would use nuclear weapons, going as far as to invite foreigners into North Korea to observe the decommissioning of a nuclear facility. Bolton kind of held back, he didn't see too much promise in those comments. He did not hold back, however, in giving credit to the administration for this -- at least rhetorical progress. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe that Kim Jong-un is ready to negotiate away his weapons, or is he just trying to soften his image?

JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, I don't think we know at this point. I think -- if he has made a strategic determination that North Korea would be better off without nuclear weapons, then I think we got something to talk about, and I think the president would be eager to capitalize on the opportunity. But I think it's clear, we are here where we are today because of the pressure that the Trump administration has put on North Korea. Economic pressure, political and military pressure, and I think it's up to the North Koreans to show us that they really do intend to give up nuclear weapons.


SANCHEZ: Now, as you all know, Ryan, there is a lot of reasons to be skeptical of the words from the North Korean leader. We've seen this sort of deals fall apart with North Korea before. One final detail, there were a number of sites that were floated as potential destinations for this meeting to take place. On Friday, President Trump announced that both sides had whittled it down to two possible destinations. We still have no indication, however, of when a final announcement will be made or an exact date for this proposed meeting, Ryan.

NOBLES: All right, Boris Sanchez, thank you for that update from the White House.

Now, the other big story of the day. The dramatic scene playing out on the U.S.-Mexico border. Migrants from Central American gathering along the fence between Tijuana and San Diego. They're part of a migrant caravan that's been heading to the U.S. border for weeks. And then on the other side of the fence, pro-immigrant protesters had gathered.

CNN's Leyla Santiago is on the Mexican side of the border. Leyla, what is the latest there from that scene? LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, guys, I know that the shot is a little -- hey guys, I -- we are on a bus, so I apologize if it's a little shaky. But, right now, the caravan is moving to another shelter where they will have a series of meetings with advocates, as well as attorneys and organizers. And then from there, they plan to turn themselves in through a port of entry. And I want to stress, that is the legal way to do so. Many will be asking to seek asylum.

So I want to actually speak to a family here. They are from Honduras, and actually we were with them as they got on a train in Mexico. That is what many of these migrants has said is part of the toughest -- one of the toughest parts on this journey.

So, this Isabel (ph) and I'm just kind of -- so that you guys get a better understanding what they're feeling -- what their feeling is right now. The mood is, I'm going to talk to her and translate as we speak.

(Foreign Language)

[15:05:28] SANTIAGO: So she's saying that she's very happy, but as I mentioned, a little bit worried because she's very grateful about the -- on the help rather that she has received from those who have helped her get as far as they have. But she says she's very worried, so I'm going to ask her more specifically what she's worried about.

(Foreign Language)

SANTIAGO: So she is a grandmother, and she has two kids. And again, I still remember when they were on the train, they actually climbed up the train to sit on a mound of scrap metal to make the journey north. And so her concern is, because she is a grandmother that she could be separated by U.S. immigration officials from her two kids, or her two grandkids, when she arrives.

And I've got to tell you, I've heard that concern repeated over and over. Now, I have spoken to U.S. immigration officials who tell me that is not the policy to just go ahead and separate everyone. They will separate someone when there is concern over the child's safety as well as if there's any issue in proving that the adult that is with the child is a legal guardian. But that is her concern as the grandmother of these children. She is from Honduras.

(Foreign Language)

SANTIAGO: Excuse me, she is from El Salvador.

(Foreign Language)

SANTIAGO: So she has been traveling with this caravan for more than a month.

(Foreign Language)

SANTIAGO: I'm asking her why she decided to go with this caravan to seek asylum the legal way. (Foreign Language)

SANTIAGO: So she is saying, you know, they don't have many resources. And I should note that this caravan has provided attorneys and immigration advocates to help them through this process. And os she says it's a little -- it's more secure to go with the caravan this way versus crossing illegally.

Now, you know, there have been some migrants that have opted to stay in Mexico to seek asylum here. She is not doing that.

(Foreign Language)

SANTIAGO: So she's saying the reason she like to go to the United States is her life in Mexico would be very different. She sees an opportunity in terms of building a life with a job in the United States of America. So she has two grandkids ---

(Foreign Language)

SANTIAGO: So this is Anderson (ph), he is seven years old, and Christopher --

(Foreign Language)

SANTIAGO: -- and her other grandkid had 11 -- is 11 years old. And again, they are continuing on this bus to go to the shelter. And then after that they plan to march to the port of entry to turn themselves in to U.S. immigration officials and plead for asylum.

But there is this sort of mood of excitement mixed with uncertainty. They don't know what will happen, especially given that U.S. officials have already said, Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, has already said he is sending down immigration attorneys, U.S. attorneys, as well as extra judges to adjudicate these cases. So, this caravan is continuing on with what they have said they would do the entire time, seek asylum at the U.S. border, but not knowing how the U.S. immigration officials and this administration will take them in. There is -- there's so much at stake right now for them with that uncertainty.

Guys, back to you.

NOBLES: All right, Leyla Santiago on board a bus with migrants who are going to attempt to acquire asylum status along the U.S.-Mexico border. Leyla, thank you for that report. We appreciate it.

And Leyla mentioned the human element all of this, and there's obviously a lot of stake for this human beings that are involved in this process. But there's also a big political conversation taking place as well.

[15:10:07] And the president has been extremely critical of this caravan throughout their entire journey. Listen to what he had to say last night at his rally in Michigan.


TRUMP: Are you watching that mess that's going on right now with the caravan coming up? Are you watching this? And our laws are so weak, they're so pathetic. And let me tell you, we've gotten Mexico to work with us on stopping a lot of what's pouring in, but we have the worst laws anywhere in the world.


NOBLES: The president actually talked about this caravan three different times during his speech last night. So I want to bring in a variety of voices on this particular topic. CNN Political Commentator and Democratic Strategist Dave Jacobson, CNN Political Commentator and GOP Consultant John Thomas, the president of the National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd, and CNN Opinion Writer and Immigration Analyst Raul Reyes.

Brandon, I want to start with you. And a very specific question for you because I think you, of all the folks on my panel, can answer this question. Is what we're seeing here at the border, does this have anything to do with the president's insistence that we need border security, more border security? Aren't these two different issues?

BRANDON JUDD, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: Well, it depends on -- again, you have to separate the two issues of the 300 or some odd people that are up in this caravan. We've already arrested about 50 of those who have crossed the border illegally. And so, when you look at this from a humane issue, the border patrol agents, when we take these people into custody -- I have personally taken a great many of people into custody that they've told me horrendous stories about smugglers treat them, about rape and abuse that takes place. And when we allow people to come into the country illegally and then we release them under the (INAUDIBLE) program, what we're doing is were putting them in the smuggling -- smugglers' hands, we're incentivizing smugglers in recruiting people to come up the border illegally, and not just --

NOBLES: But Brandon, this is not -- I mean, this is not an example --

JUDD: -- to look at that.

NOBLES: But this isn't example of smugglers. This caravan -- I mean, they're out in the open, they're letting everybody know what they're doing. They -- most of them said they want to seek asylum through a legal process. I mean, is that -- are we mixing up the two --

JUDD: I, 100 percent agree with this particular caravan, but all you have to do is you have to look at the month of march. Of the 50,000 people that made an entry into this country without documents to be in the country, only 12,000 of them came through ports of entry. Thirty- seven thousand of them came between the ports of entry or made an entry into the country illegally which enforced us to take them to custody. Those 30,000 -- 37,000 people were in the hands of smugglers. We incentivized it, so the smugglers recruit people from other countries to come up to the United States and break out laws which is -- we can't have that happen, so yes, we have -- we absolutely have to secure the borders.

NOBLES: OK. All right, well, John, and you see these images of people sitting on top of the border. And what message do you think this is sending to the president?

JOHN THOMAS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's reminding the president that his fundamental campaign promise of securing the border by -- whether it's a wall or other means hasn't been done. I mean, that's what is reminding. And also, with President Trump's base, immigration remains the top issue for him to tackle.

So, as you see people climbing this fence, it reminds Trump that if he doesn't make measurable progress on this issue, and if he allow -- allows these people to come across the border illegally, he is going to have a political problem on his hands.

NOBLES: But we need to make it clear. This group of people that we're seeing pictures of are not attempting to enter the United States illegally. They are actually attempting to go through the legal process. But, John, I understand your point, there are, you know -- there could -- the potential that there were some folks that were in this caravan that may have attempted to get in the country illegally. But this group of people are trying to go through the legal process.

And Dave, I want to bring you in now. How do you think the president's rhetoric to this conversation has impacted the discussion? I mean, I don't think anyone disagrees that the immigration laws need to be improved. But do you feel that the president is trying to make a good faith effort to find common ground for a solution that everyone will benefit from?

DAVE JACOBSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Absolutely not. I mean, in Donald Trump's America, he demonizes immigrants. He divides us rather than finding common sense, common ground to move this issue forward.

The reality is, the American people fundamentally want comprehensive immigration reform. We've seen this in poll after poll. They want those who are currently in the country but living in the shadows to have a pathway toward citizenship. That' why take for example the DACA program.

[15:15:02] And poll after poll, 98 percent of Americans support a pathway to citizenship in a DACA fix. The fact of the matter is, Donald Trump is just throwing out read meats to the base, he has done everything but unify this country, and in fact splintered us, continuing to divide this nation, precisely on the immigration issue.

NOBLES: And Raul, what would you say to critics that would argue that what we're seeing here is nothing more than a public relations stunt for folks that would like to see more open borders between the United States and Mexico?

RAUL REYES, CNN OPINION WRITER AND IMMIGRATION ANALYST: Well, first of all, remember, this caravan is not really are people from Mexico coming north. Well, this are -- these are people from Central America. And this caravan is very unique because it's actually been going on in -- I think close to 10 years but in a very ironic way because Trump learned about it this year and drew so much attention to it. That's one of the reasons that it has become so large.

Now, the people in this caravan, I want to be clear about this for your audience, they're not the type of people who are the -- say, the typical undocumented immigrants but who are from Mexico who come here to work. These are people who are fleeing very violent countries, they are fleeing for their lives. At home, there's traffickers, the cartels, all sorts of sexual violence.

And so they are attempting to come to the U.S. as you mentioned to claim their legal right of asylum. And in fact, most of them -- I mean, when we look at past administrations, even going back to Obama and George W. Bush, most people who make a claim for asylum on their southern border do not get it. So most of them will likely be denied. But the fact is, they have the right to it, and in fact the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees estimates that about 68 percent of these children could qualify for asylum, you know, based on their current situation back home.

So this is not -- it's not -- I encourage people not to look at this in sense of -- in terms of illegal immigration or any type of immigration crisis. This is a humanitarian crisis and what these people are doing is perfectly legal under our currently -- current immigration laws system.

NOBLES: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. We appreciate all of your opinions on this very important topic. Dave Jacobson, John Thomas, Brandon Judd, and Raul Reyes, we appreciate you being here.


THOMAS: Thank you.


NOBLES: Moving on, new signs of peace. Coming up, North Korea says it's ready to make a deal with a new list of concessions. But is the U.S. ready to agree. We'll discuss this after the break.


[15:21:32] NOBLES: President Trump is now putting a timeline on his historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying he expects a meeting to happen in three or four weeks. North Korea says it's offering to make concessions to achieve a deal with the U.S., including shutting down its nuclear site and allowing inspections by journalists and experts. And even saying it's willing to disarm if the U.S. promises not to invade.

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, says that President Trump deserves credit for the progress but also has words of caution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), RANKING MEMBER, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think it's more than fair to say that the combination of the president's unpredictability and, indeed, his bellicosity had something to do with the North Korea's deciding to come to the table. But before the president takes too much credit or hands out the mission accomplished banner, he needs to realize that we may go into a confrontational path and he may not want the full blame if things go sour (ph).


NOBLES: I want to bring in now Max Baucus, he's a former United States senator from Montana, he's also the former ambassador from the United States to China.

Ambassador, thank you so much for joining me. From your perspective, you know, are these concessions being offered by North Korea genuine, or should they be viewed with some skepticism?

MAX BAUCUS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA: Well, first of all, obviously, the meeting between Moon and Kim is breathtaking. It's historic. And we all hope that this materializes.

There are probably about three or four unknowns. One is Kim Jong-un. Is he willing, in fact, to give up his nuclear missile capability? I'm a bit skeptical on that.

Another unknown is the verification, will he agree to a total complete independent verifiable verification that he is in fact going to dismantle? And third, is China. There's not much discussion yet about China. But China is kind of the (INAUDIBLE) gorilla in the region. And China is going to play a very (INAUDIBLE) role, we're not sure what it is. That's an unknown.

And fourth is frankly, President Trump himself. We don't know whether he in fact be will be a statesman. He hasn't in the past. Will he be consistent? Will he work with Congress? Will he work with all the countries in the region?

Will hem you know, be constructive? And that's a totally different kind of President Trump. We hope so but that has yet to be seen.

NOBLES: You raised such a great point about all of the other leaders in this region who all appear to be interested in some sort of long- term deal here. But, is there a concern here that their ultimate goals might all be pretty different? The goals of China different from the goals of Japan, the goals of North Korea different than the goals of South Korea?

BAUCUS: Well, one thing all is agreed upon I think with everyone. That is to denuclearize the peninsula so that Kim Jong-un is not going to send missiles to all parts of the world. That's what Japan wants, the South Korea wants, United States wants and China too. So there's agreement there.

Some differences though included American troops in South Korea and in the region. China wants them out, North Korea says it's not too concerned about that, they just want to pledge that they're not going to be invaded by the United States. And we, of course, as Americans want to protect our securities. So there -- that's when it starts to get sticky.

NOBLES: And do you think that denuclearization is enough on the behalf of the North Koreans? Does Kim Jong-un have to agree to some form of serious reform to human rights in his country in order for the U.S. to agree to a deal like this? Or is it just enough to get him away from nuclear weapons?

[15:25:02] BAUCUS: Well, you raised a good point that there are (INAUDIBLE) here. There's ballistic missiles, there's intermediate missiles. He may agree to get -- to dismantle his ballistic but maybe not his intermediate. That's not too good. And his biological warfare, we -- that's going to have to be on the table.

At some point Kim is going to start asking about economic help too and what's the take on. You know, we all hope this works, it really comes down to the good faith of the parties involved. Kim, Trump, Xi Jinping, and President Moon. If they go the extra mile, there's a decent chance this might work.

NOBLES: And how important will the actual meeting between President Trump and Kim Jon-un, how important will that be? I mean, is this really just to get to know you, to feel the sides out to see if they're willing to make those concessions that you talk about? Or, could they actually walk away from the table with something substantive that could lead to the kind of historic deal that the president is promising?

BAUCUS: Well, the easy meeting was between President Moon and the leader Kim. That was easy. Now we're getting to the hard part, because it's really between North Korea and the United States. After all, it's Kim who threatened the United States with ballistic missiles.

So that gets down into the weeds of it, and that's a very difficult conversation because we, clearly as a country want to protect our national security. And it's just -- I think it's going to put President Trump in a very difficult spot because he's going to have to do the hard spot that is dealing with Kim on the -- on a real question of ballistic missiles whereas, you know, the easy part was Moon and Kim.

NOBLES: Right. All right, well, Ambassador Max Baucus, thank you so much for your perspective. We appreciate you being on.

BAUCUS: You bet.

NOBLES: All right. Crossing the line.


MICHELLE WOLF, AMERICAN COMEDIAN: It's 2018 and I'm a woman so you cannot shut me up. Unless you have Michael Cohen wire me a $130,000. Michael, you can find me on Venmo under my porn star name, Reince Priebus.


NOBLES: Not everyone was laughing as comedian Michelle Wolf roasted the White House correspondents dinner. Coming up, did her digs at the president and her staff go a bit too far.


[15:30:09] NOBLES: Mike Pompeo is on his first overseas trip as secretary of state. He landed in Jordan a short time ago after a series of meetings in Saudi Arabia and Israel. Pompeo held a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu where they discussed Iran's role in the Middle East.


MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Many of our conversations today, Mr. Prime Minister, as you said centered on Iran. Strong cooperation with close allies like you is critical to our efforts for kind of (INAUDIBLE) peace destabilizing the malign activity throughout the Middle East and indeed throughout the world. We remain deeply concerned about Iran's dangerous escalation of threats to Israel and the region and Iran's ambition to dominate the Middle East remains.


NOBLES: CNN's Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem following the secretary of state's trip. Oren?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ryan, part of the purpose of this trip was that it was done so quickly. A political and diplomatic message of how close the ties are between the U.S. and Israel. In fact, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joked that he went on this trip, he came to Israel even before he stepped into his own office. So that very much was a message, especially when the former secretary of state Rex Tillerson did not stop here on his trip to the Middle East.

But as you pointed out, the big reason for this trip was for both of these sides, both of these leaders, if you will, the top U.S. diplomat and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to focus on Iran. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been the loudest and the most outspoken critic of the Iran deal since the very beginning here, since 2015 and before.

And under the Trump administration, he's seen a new opportunity to lobby against that deal. And that's exactly what he did standing next to Pompeo in a bit of a press conference they held there. Netanyahu has said in recent months the deal needs to be fixed or nixed. Everybody here is aware that the deadline for Trump to make his decision is about two weeks away. Netanyahu, it seems, very much pushing for Trump to decertify or to kill the Iran deal at this point, and we saw that on display here as both of these leaders, both Netanyahu and Pompeo, focused on Iran. But not just the nuclear deal, Ryan. They also talked about Iran's ballistic missile program, Iran's presence in Syria and its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon. What was clear here, Ryan, is that both of these men and both of these governments, the U.S. and Israel, are very much on the same page when it comes to Iran.

NOBLES: OK, Oren Liebermann, live in Jerusalem. Oren, thank you for that report.

And we'll take a quick break and be right back.


ANTHONY BOURDIN, HOST, "ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN": Six hundred miles away from midtown Manhattan is McDowell County, West Virginia, another America. In the mind of many of my fellow New Yorkers, the heart of God, guns, and Trump country, the existential enemy.

If you would describe (INAUDIBLE) gun right is important. A lot of people (INAUDIBLE) to resonate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think people understand just how genuine and wonderful the people are in these mountains.

BOURDAIN: Here in the heart of every belief system I ever mocked or fought against, I was welcomed with open arms by everyone. I found the place both heartbreaking and beautiful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got your Trump legs? Turtle patties. Are you great in snapping turtle?

BOURDAIN: Oh, I'm not missing that. Wow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for your work.

BOURDAIN: Thank you for having me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The all new season of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" starts tonight at 9:00 on CNN.


[15:38:09 ] NOBLES: And welcome back. We continue to follow our breaking news, the dramatic scene unfolding in the U.S.-Mexico border. Migrants from Central America gathering along a fence between Tijuana and San Diego. They're part of a migrant caravan that has been headed to the U.S. border for weeks. On the other side of the fence, pro- immigrant protesters have gathered as well.

And with me to discuss this is Matt Schlapp, he's the former political director for George W. Bush and chairman of the American Conservative Union. Matt, thank you for joining me. We're going to talk about a number of topics but first, I want to get your reaction to what you're seeing happening at the border.

MATT SCHLAPP, FORMER POLITICAL DIRECTOR FOR GEORGE W. BUSH: Look, there is great tragedy going on throughout Central America and in Mexico, obviously, the country right to the south of us. But there's a way to do this. And the problem with the way our laws exists now is all of these people are going to come and try to claim political asylum and not economic asylum. Because there's no question there's unrest in some of these countries, but there's got to be a way to do it.

And if these people get asylum for a temporary period of time, and then what tends to happen for a lot of these folks is that they end up staying in the country for as long as they want. They in essence create this next generation of Dreamer or DACA. Will they get amnesty at some point down the road?

Some of them will go through the process and they'll go to their hearing and the immigration judge will make a determination. But there's a little bit of chaos about the way our system allows these people to be adjudicated. And I think most Americans say get in line like everybody, fill out the paperwork, do it the right way because the immigration system in this country, I want to have it, but it needs to be orderly.

NOBLES: But do you think that the president is contributing to that chaos a little bit? I mean, he's --

SCHLAPP: The opposite.

NOBLES: I mean, he's comparing this group of migrants, many of them coming from difficult situations, to rapists, murderers, the MS-13 gangs, smugglers. I mean, isn't this a different group of people --

SCHLAPP: No, not at all --

NOBLES: -- with different class --

SCHLAPP: We have absolutely no idea. This is one of the problems with -- when you come to the border and create an emergency instead of just going through the normal process.

[15:40:04] Remember, each one of these people can fill out the forms to get legal residency in America. What they're doing is creating a bit of chaos by coming to the border and pressing that to happen faster. And they will probably get Temporary Protective Service in this country. What we know is people overstay that TPS or they overstay visas. And they end up staying in America for as long as they want. It creates a problem down the road and create political chaos for the system.

NOBLES: All right, let's talk about another topic that you have found yourself in the middle of, to a certain extent. Last night, the president skipped the White House correspondents dinner, which you and I were both at last night, and instead chose to hold a campaign rally in Michigan.

The president was really going after the media while he was in Michigan, and several of his other favorite topics. But White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders chose to participate in the event. She was actually sitting at the head table, serving as the Trump administration's representative, and she was a target for the headliner Michelle Wolf and I want to play you a little of that from last night.


WOLF: Of course Trump isn't here. If you haven't noticed, he's not here. And I know, I know, I would drag him here myself but it turns out the president of the United States is the one (INAUDIBLE) you're not allowed to grab. We have Sarah Huckabee Sanders, we are graced with Sarah's presence tonight. I have to say I'm a little starstruck. I love you as Aunt Lydia in "The Handmaid Tale." Mike Pence, if you haven't seen it, you would love it.

There's also, of course, Ivanka. She was supposed to be an advocate for women. But it turns out, she's about as helpful to women as an empty box of tampons. She's done nothing to satisfy women. So I guess, like father, like daughter.


NOBLES: Matt, I was there. I saw you and your wife Mercedes, who is a member of the White House communication staff, walk out when Michelle Wolf went on that tirade against Sarah Sanders. Tell me why you did it.

SCHLAPP: I never really walked out on one of these dinners before. It's a -- you know, I go to a fair number of events. I can take a lot. I have a sarcastic sense of humor.

That was disgusting. That was gross. That's -- my wife was there representing the White House, Sarah Sanders was, Kellyanne Conway was. It's OK to poke fun at the other side in the spirit of the dinner, but I think it went too far. I think you don't -- you shouldn't mock the way a woman looks. Another woman doesn't get a pass for doing that.

She made jokes about abortion. I think even just the clips that you showed just there made the networks have to turn away from it. C-Span couldn't cover it.

Look, the White House Press Corp had a real opportunity. The president is skipping the dinner. You have the chance at that moment, not you, but the White House Correspondents Association, has the chance to show that they are like kind of the better organization and you can rally the country around the concept of First Amendment.

And instead, they got right into the gutter, and did exactly why the American -- what they did is exactly why the American people hate what they view as a left wing press, because they think that they mock their beliefs, mock abortions? That's crazy.

NOBLES: I mean, Matt, I know you're being critical of Michelle Wolf, and maybe she deserves that criticism --

SCHLAPP: She does. NOBLES: -- but I haven't heard you have that same level of criticism for the president. When he has mocked a disabled reporter before, he's gone after the appearance of his political opponents. He does this on a regular basis. He did this last night.

SCHLAPP: Well, you don't know because you and I haven't had those interviews, and throughout the campaign that there was all kinds of moments when I said I would have done something much different. The difference is this. If the president is sitting on that stage, I think all of it is fair game.

But for Sarah Sanders, who's not the president of the United States, and is trying to do her level best to sit there with some grace and just try to represent the administration, that's what too far. Leave the staff alone, leave Sarah Sanders alone.

You guys want to go after the president everyday, that's fine. He's a big boy, he can handle it.

NOBLES: Did he do her a disservice by putting her in that position? Shouldn't that have been the president (INAUDIBLE) last night?

SCHLAPP: Not only did the president not -- he made the right decision of not going. And I think that the entire White House staff won't go next year. And I think it's the damn shame for this country that left and right, and in this case, they put the press on left, can't come together in a social environment and have a little bit of fun for a good cause. Instead they've exacerbated the reason why politics in this country is so split and that's a damn awful shame.

NOBLES: OK. All right, Matt, I appreciate your perspective on this. Thank you so much for being here.

SCHLAPP: Appreciate being here.

NOBLES: All right.

Gateway drug or medical breakthrough? Coming up, we sit down with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about his new show all about marijuana. And why now, he believes new research could change your opinions.


[15:49:04] NOBLES: Could the answer to the growing opioid crisis in this country lie in the use of medical marijuana? It is a controversial subject and the focus of a groundbreaking new season of the award-winning CNN Series "Weed."

Fredrick Whitfield sat down with Dr. Sanjay Gupta ahead of tonight's premiere, and here is a sneak peek.


TRUMP: We're going to work with the people who are so addicted and we're going to try like hell to get them off that addiction. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: A national epidemic. Trump campaigned to end it. As president he promised to fix it.

TRUMP: The scourge of drug addiction in America will stop. It will stop.

GUPTA: But one year later, it hasn't stopped. People are still dying. A 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. More than car accidents, breast cancer, or guns.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And literally, everybody we know knows somebody who has died of an overdose.

[15:50:06] GUPTA: And 2.5 million Americans are currently struggling with opioid addiction.


JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: People at least try to take some aspirin sometimes and top it out.

GUPTA: A solution some believe is this. Cannabis. It's controversial to many.

Is cannabis a gateway drug?

But a gateway to recovery for others. Did it help you get off of these opiates?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cannabis has given me a reason to live.

GUPTA: Join us as we investigate, search for answers and meet potential pioneers and outspoken critics. Whether you struggle with opiates or know one of the millions who do, decide for yourself.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Here with me now, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. All right, good to see you.

So, why should something like this, potentially be the fix for the opioid crisis?

GUPTA: I think there is all sorts of different ways to address this opioid epidemic. Obviously we got to cut down on the number of pills that people are taking as a starting point. But right now, you have 2.5 million people who are addicted in the opioid use disorder, and obviously, a 115 people still dying every day of an opioid overdose. So, it's a desperate time. This is the worst self-inflicted epidemic that we've had in U.S. history.

Cannabis, as I found out, as I learned can really help in three ways. It can help decrease pain, so it can be used instead of opioids. There's no risk of overdose, no risk of dying from an overdose of cannabis, it's never happened before. They can treat the withdrawal, people who are trying to quit but can't because of the withdrawal symptoms of nausea, vomiting, the heart rate changes, all of that are just too much. You know, cannabis can help as it does with chemotherapy patients, cancer patients.

And finally, I found the most intriguing was that, your brain changes with you're in opioids. Your ability to make decisions, your ability to use judgment, you can see those changes in the brain. I saw it myself.

WHITFIELD: That doesn't happen with marijuana?

GUPTA: Not only does it not happen with -- especially the CBD, this component of marijuana, CBD seems to heal that receptor's system in the brain. The scientists that we talked to said they've never seen a substance that does that.

So, this idea that if you had to design something to help lead us out the opioid epidemic, it would probably look like cannabis, because of all those things it can do.

WHITFIELD: So you used an operative word, you even said you had to learn --


WHITFIELD: -- you know, how instructive and constructive marijuana could be. But at the same time in your piece, you talk about marijuana or at least there's a feeling that marijuana can be the gateway drug. So, how do you have the two, side by side, in one, marijuana being the helper to help kick a habit?

GUPTA: It's a really tough thing, and then you add onto that, this is still a federally illegal substance. So just from a legal standpoint, there's fear of prosecution if you're using this. I think that there's a lot of science around the gateway hypothesis as it's called, and (INAUDIBLE) shows that it's not a gateway drug in a way that people think. That you take marijuana, and now your body has changed that you need heroin, that you need cocaine, that you need meth.

That's what a lot of people think of I think the gateway drug. It's opening the gates to these other cravings. It doesn't seem to happen to people who use marijuana, sometimes going on to use these other thing, sure. If you had to go back, you'd say probably nicotine is the first gateway in that regard, or alcohol. You know, so there's all these different ways of looking at it, but it doesn't seem to change your brain in a way that makes you crave harder drugs.

WHITFIELD: In a way, you were opening our eyes through this fourth installment, this fourth series, but at the same time, you are trying to educate this administration. You sent a letter. What compelled you to write a letter to the administration to make new considerations and what are you hoping will come from that letter.

GUPTA: Well, we wanted to sit down and talk to members of the administration, people who have some role in being able to do something about cannabis and the laws around cannabis. They didn't agree to sit down with us, so what we really wanted to do was be able to present everything that we have learned.

I mean, we spent all this time aggregating all this knowledge in one place, how can cannabis work? Again, I learned this along the way, what is the current level of science, what is the National Academy of Science saying about all these things. And put it all in one place, because this idea, if it can help in the throws of this opioid epidemic. Obviously, it needs to be safe, it needs to be regulated, it needs to be out of the hands of kids, pregnant women, people who are driving shouldn't take it, all of those things of course need to be in place.

But if it can help treat people's opioid use disorder, and help reduce the number of people dying everyday, 115, it's something that we felt compelled to be able to share with people who can do something about it.

[15:55:00] But the numbers are going to get worse right now. There's -- you know, you're going to have tens of thousands of people who have died this year from on opioid epidemic, and we're not really sure how to bring those numbers down. This is a tool on the toolbox.

WHITFIELD: It's a fascinating potential answer.

GUPTA: I think so. I do.

WHITFIELD: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, we'll all be watching. Thanks so much.

GUPTA: Thanks, Fred. Appreciate it.


NOBLES: Be sure to watch a CNN special report, "Weed 4: Pot versus Pills" tonight at 8 p.m. right here on CNN.

And there's much more ahead in the NEWSROOM after this short break.


NOBLES: Hello, and thank you for joining me. I'm Ryan Nobles in Washington in today for Fredricka Whitfield.

And we're following breaking news this hour. A dramatic scene on the U.S.-Mexico border. Migrants from Central America gathering along the fence between Tijuana and San Diego.