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CNN NEWSROOM

North Korea Surprises with Never-Before-Seen Missiles; Pence Heads to Seoul as North Korea Tensions Escalate; Trump's Military Actions Raise Questions on His Foreign Policy Doctrine; Tax Day March Calls on Trump to Release His Taxes; Centrist Voices Gaining Favor In Trump's Inner Circle; U.N. Singles Out North Korea's Embassy In Russia As Diplomatic Cover. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired April 15, 2017 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:00:18] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Martin Savidge in for Fredricka Whitfield who is off today.

Ready for all-out war. We begin with brand new pictures coming from inside North Korea today as that country's dictator is showing off never-before-seen intercontinental ballistic missiles that he claims could reach America's West Coast. These ballistic missiles were paraded through Pyongyang, Korea's -- during Korea's Annual Day of the Sun celebration.

The threat comes amid growing fears that Kim Jong-un could be preparing for another nuclear test. If launched, it would be the first one on President Trump's watch.

CNN international correspondent Will Ripley is in Pyongyang. He is the only American television journalist in the North Korean capital, and he filed this report earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So far no nuclear test on the Day of the Sun, North Korea's most important holiday, but you have seen a show of force of a very different kind. You can see North Korean citizens are out here right now. These women are holding up a North Korean flag.

And earlier, we saw North Korea's full arsenal on display. There were Scud missiles. There were submarine-launched ballistic missiles. There were land-based missiles that could be launched from a mobile launcher. And at the very end, we saw North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles.

We know that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's goal is to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching the mainland United States. And while analysts say they may not be there just yet, parades like this are certainly evidence that they continue to make progress. Faster progress than many experts have predicted. A lot of people thought there might be a nuclear test today on this

important holiday or in the lead-up to it. However, it seems as if the North Koreans are holding off on the nuclear tests for now. But I have received information that a special operations exercise, a military exercise earlier this week, when commandos were jumping out of airplanes, that was an exercise in direct response to tweets from President Trump talking about North Korea and urging China to solve the North Korea problem, as he put it.

But we also know that there's a USS Carl Vinson carrier striker, 60 planes, submarines equipped with nuclear missiles, and a 97,000 ton aircraft carrier, all designed to send a message of deterrence to the North Koreans, telling them not to engage in provocative behavior such as another missile launch or a nuclear test. But the atmosphere out here, as the North Koreans would put it, is a single-hearted determination to fight, to fight against the United States, because their country has told them all of their lives that they're under the imminent threat of invasion.

And so you have a lot of these civilians out here, perhaps not many of these women but you have a lot of the men in the crowd here, who have a military background, who have told us repeatedly that if there were to be a war with the United States, they would leave their jobs, put their uniforms back on and fight. So this is what North Korea is saying, that they are being underestimated by the world and they put on these supersized displays to try to prove to the world that they are here to stay and they're going to move forward on the road of their choosing, even if that road is a path to nuclearization that many others, including the United States, feel is a dangerous and destructive path.

Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: All right. That's the view from the North Korean capital. If Kim Jong-un does conduct his sixth nuclear test, there is a chance that Vice President Mike Pence could be just across the border. And he's scheduled to arrive in Seoul, South Korea, tomorrow.

President Trump is at the southern White House in Florida, and CNN's Jessica Schneider is live in nearby West Palm Beach.

Jessica, good morning to you. What more are we learning about the vice president's trip and what exactly does he hope to achieve?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martin, this 11-day trip from Vice President Pence, it does of course come at a critical time as those tensions over North Korea continue to escalate.

This will be the chance for Vice President Pence to really lay out the administration's plans and policies to U.S. allies abroad. In fact, Vice President Pence is aboard Air Force Two right now en route to South Korea. He's actually making a refueling stop at some point in Alaska and he will arrive in Seoul, South Korea around 3:55 p.m. local time tomorrow. That's Sunday. So on the list for Vice President Pence several things once he gets to

Seoul. It will include a visit to Seoul National Cemetery. He'll also attend an Easter church service with U.S. and Korean service members and he'll attend a fellowship meal with military families where he'll also make remarks.

Now Vice President Pence will remain in Seoul, South Korea, until Tuesday, but that isn't the only stop.

[11:05:01] He'll also make stops in Indonesia, Japan, Australia and then in Hawaii, but of course, Martin, at the forefront of the talking points for Vice President Pence, North Korea -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: Jessica Schneider, thanks very much.

So what's next for the U.S.? Well, let's talk with CNN military analyst Major General James "Spider" Marks who's retired from the U.S. Army, and CNN global affairs analyst David Rohde who is also a national security investigations editor at Reuters.

General, good morning. Let me start with you.

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Good morning, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Pyongyang tends to flaunt its military might on this day and this time they displayed several new missiles, it seems, one of which was dubbed "frankenmissile" -- I like that -- by a military expert in "The Wall Street Journal." He was saying, quote, "We're totally floored right now. I wasn't expecting to see this many new missile designs."

General, when you look at the picture of this frankenmissile, and of course it's the outside of the missile. We don't see the missile itself. What's your reaction?

MARKS: Well, it's routine for the North Koreans. They have for years and forever since the regime has been in place over 70 years have been on a path at a certain pace and that pace has been moderated a little bit only by their own behavior and their own technological abilities to create a nuclear capability and an ICBM capability and to maintain a level of readiness or at least overt readiness to the overt to the outside world level of readiness in their military.

Bear in mind they have one of the world's largest ground forces. The level of readiness of that force cannot be assessed based on this parade, which is something they do every year anyway. But their desire to achieve a nuclear tipped ICBM is going to occur unless, of course, the international community can get in between their desires and this timeline and by 2020, it would not be -- we should not be surprised that North Korea has this capability to launch an ICBM that's nuclear tipped.

We are -- we should be concerned. And the only thing that's going to stop that is, again as I indicated, there needs to be some action and inarguably nobody, no one, Russia or China, or any alliance has been able to modify the behavior and the objectives of this regime in Pyongyang.

SAVIDGE: That's very true. So, David, you know, we know that China is seemingly trying to act as a kind of referee here. It's urging all sides from making inflammatory statements. Listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WANG YI, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER (Through Translator): Therefore we urge all parties to refrain from provoking and threatening each other either with rhetoric or actions so as to avoid getting the situation out of hand and into an irreversible dead end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: So, David, do you expect that North Korea is going to listen to China, tone down its rhetoric, and does the U.S. need to follow the advice as well?

DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I think the Chinese have more leverage than anyone else over North Korea. There's no question about it. They are the overwhelmingly the only country that trades with North Korea and I think there's much more that China could do. So I think the key thing for the U.S. to do is to work with the Chinese. Sending the aircraft carrier battle group, you know -- you know, is a threat of military force but the key is I think working with China to use its -- you know, China can use its economic leverage I think to get this regime to step back -- to step back, and then if the North Koreans refuse to listen to China, that could help, you know, get the Chinese to be more aggressive along with the United States if it becomes a completely rouge regime.

SAVIDGE: Right. It's quite a terrifying prospect to think of war on the Korean peninsula again. I spent a lot of time at the DMZ. It would not be like any of the recent conflicts the United States has been involved in.

And I'm wondering, General, we know that the U.S. has sent a naval strike force, the USS Carl Vinson. I've spent a lot of time on that vessel as well. If North Korea conducts another nuclear test, what options will the U.S. have in its ability to respond?

MARKS: Well, first of all, bear in mind that North Korea has conducted five tests to date over the course of the last six years or so. A little more than that. This sixth test will not immediately see a response from the United States. That's my estimate. They've done that before.

SAVIDGE: Not with the vice president there certainly.

MARKS: They've done it before. We've assessed it before. We'll see what this looks like. What has to happen is that, again, this cannot continue apace. The fact that the Carl Vinson is routine. This is a deployment that takes place. There is normally a carrier battle group -- there is always a carrier battle group in the Pacific at the level of readiness that the Navy maintains which is always available to strike and to do the nation's bidding. So this is not unusual. And North Korea knows it. Certainly the alliance is aware of all

this. It is prudent for the United States to do this. These actions, again, are normal.

[11:10:03] We should not embrace the narrative that what our president says either through tweets or words in any way is going to affect what takes place in the North. They've been isolated for 70 years. They do what they do. And they get away with a lot of stuff and we allow it to happen. That's normalcy.

The only reason it's important now is because we've tied together in the context of what's taken place in Syria and what took place in Afghanistan and we now see what's happened along the DMZ. But North Korea has maintained -- is routinely at a level of tension and readiness on the peninsula is always extremely high.

SAVIDGE: It is. Major General James "Spider" Marks, we have to say good-bye to you. David Rohde, though, stay with us. You will be back after the break.

MARKS: Thank you, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Still ahead, with the crisis in Syria, as the general just mentioned, the "mother of all bombs" being dropped on ISIS in Afghanistan, and the tensions with North Korea building, many are wondering does the president want to police the world after all? We'll discuss that.

Plus, as his views evolve so does his inner circle. Ahead how a Wall Street millionaire is moving up in the world of Trump.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:15:15] SAVIDGE: The U.S. is keeping an eye on North Korea for any possible nuclear tests as the North warns of an all-out war if it's provoked. This as the U.S. sends a Navy strike group toward the Korean peninsula as tensions there and elsewhere rise. The U.S. also launched a missile strike against the Assad regime in Syria and dropped a massive bomb on ISIS forces in Afghanistan.

So the question, are these isolated military moves or does it add up to a foreign policy doctrine for President Trump?

CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott has a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New warnings from China. As tensions rise with North Korea, the Chinese foreign minister warning that, if war breaks out, quote, "There will be losses on all sides."

Russia, Iran and Syria also issue warnings to the U.S. against new strikes in Syria. The threats follow President Trump's decision to launch two major military strikes in Afghanistan and Syria. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the greatest

military in the world and they've done a job, as usual. So we have given them total authorization. And that's what they are doing. And, frankly, that's why they've been so successful lately.

LABOTT: The display of military might, a message to U.S. enemies and their supporters in what is quickly becoming a hallmark of Trump's emerging foreign policy.

COL. PETER MANSOOR (RET.), U.S. ARMY: President Trump has given much more leeway to his military commanders to strike and they are striking. And I think that does send a message around the world that America's back.

TRUMP: Unbelievable.

LABOTT: It's an about-face from the candidate who promised a national security strategy that put America first.

TRUMP: I want to help all of our allies. But we are losing billions and billions of dollars. We cannot be the policeman of the world.

LABOTT: But as commander-in-chief, Trump acknowledged the images of last week's gas attacks in Syria had a deep impact.

TRUMP: I now have responsibility and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly.

LABOTT: In the span of a week, Trump has also changed his mind on the NATO alliance, now viewing it as a tool to counter Russian aggression in Europe.

TRUMP: I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete.

LABOTT: And abandoning his hard-line stance on China, now calling President Xi Jinping a partner to counter North Korea's nuclear threats.

TRUMP: President Xi wants to do the right thing. We had a very good bonding. I think we had a very good chemistry together. I think he wants to help us with North Korea.

LABOTT: If a Trump foreign policy is emerging, it would be, "Don't have a doctrine."

TRUMP: I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way. And if the world changes, I go the same way. I don't change. Well, I do change.

LABOTT: Trump says he trusts his commanders pressing him to flex U.S. military muscle. In Yemen, where the U.S. is stepping up airstrikes against ISIS, in Iraq and Syria, where Trump has sent hundreds of additional troops to fight ISIS since taking office. And in Afghanistan, where his National Security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, is traveling soon to plot the future of the U.S. military presence. Trump now learning to trust the expertise of his generals he once

boasted about knowing more than.

TRUMP: I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me.

LABOTT (on camera): Military experts are pointing to a popular saying in the military, you can delegate authority but you cannot delegate responsibility. And as commander-in-chief, President Trump still owns the consequences of the decisions taken by the military on his behalf. While he may be glad to take credit when the mission is successful, the question is, will he be willing to share accountability when things go wrong, including civilian casualties?

Elise Labott, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: And Elise brings up a number of excellent points. So let's talk this all over with CNN political commentator David Swerdlick, who's an assistant editor at "The Washington Post," CNN contributor Salena Zito, a reporter for the "Washington Examiner" and a columnist at the "New York Post." And then let's bring back CNN global affairs analyst David Rohde.

David Rohde, let me start with you. Should the president even have a doctrine? Isn't or maybe is it not a good idea for the White House to just not lock itself into any specific strategy?

ROHDE: I think that, you know, you don't want to telegraph everything. But I think, you know, President Trump is making very clear that he will use military force. That's not a doctrine. But that's a new message. He's sending this message out. It may have prompted Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, to not carry out a nuclear test so far in North Korea.

[11:20:11] So, you know, this willingness to use force could work. There are many risks to that as well as Elise pointed out. But there's clearly a much more -- he's much more comfortable with using force than President Obama was.

SAVIDGE: David Swerdlick, one of the interesting other points in Elise's report was when President Trump was campaigning, he implied or seemed to have some disdain for generals whose advice now he is relying on and relying on quite heavily. So is this just the way business is done in Washington or was there a mistrust sewn during the campaign?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. So first of all, let me just take issue with one brief thing that David Rohde said, although I agree with most of what he said, David, is that I think President Obama was comfortable with the use of force. He used drones strikes. He escalated the troop levels in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world.

I think there was a different view on the getting involved with ground troops in certain countries like Syria until the very end of President Obama's campaign. President Trump, I do think, so far at least is enjoying some of the atmospherics of having done these targeted strikes in Afghanistan and Syria.

To your point -- to your point, Martin, I think, look, on the politics of foreign policy, President Trump made all these statements during the campaign about getting rid of ISIS very, very quickly but on the other hand going with America first as his signature tag line and now we're seeing a challenge of bringing all those different components together into a cohesive -- into a cohesive doctrine, if you will.

But I agree with David that you don't necessarily have to have a doctrine at this point. Just understand what the road ahead looks like.

SAVIDGE: And well, the question is, does he understand what the road ahead looks like.

Salena Zito, while the president spends, you know, his weekend at Mar- a-Lago, Mike Pence we know is headed off on an 11-day trip to Asia and we are expecting that H.R. McMaster is going to head to Afghanistan for a presumably a kind of fact-finding mission. So what do we make of that? Trump -- the president stays behind and sends others out to, what, assess the world for him?

SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Sure. I think that's pretty normal procedure in diplomacy, right. You send a message by sending the top people that you trust to go into an area that you feel needs attention, so Secretary of State Tillerson was in Asia two weeks ago. You have Vice President Pence coming over.

It is a message that comes from the White House. The president does not have to go over himself at this moment. At least the circumstances do not dictate that. But, you know, it is -- I think it sends a signal and it telegraphs that hey, we're paying attention. We're not turning our back on this. And this is important to us.

SAVIDGE: David Rohde, my question here is, you know, where does the U.S. go next? And the reason I bring that up is because, you know, we're looking at what could be a very dangerous road. China is still urging negotiated peace. Is that possible or does conflict just seem inevitable?

ROHDE: Well, that's the -- that's the thing. It's -- you know, it's the beginning of President Trump's presidency. This is the easy part. These strikes were easy. The strike in Syria didn't change the military balance in that conflict at all. Dropping one large bomb in Afghanistan didn't change the conflict there at all. In fact General Nicholson, the commander of Afghanistan, wants several thousand more U.S. troops, advisers in Afghanistan and then what is the strategy in North Korea? You know, as we talked about in the last segment, I think the key is China.

There's got to be a way for China to put more leverage on Kim Jong-un and the North Korean economy. That's the only sort of leverage that's left at this point. And if you could somehow get the Chinese frustrated with North Korea as they even ignore pressure from China itself that would be a step forward. But in terms of military solutions, you know, you could bomb a preemptive strike and take out some of these long-range missiles and the nuclear facilities but that would unleash a conventional conflict that could kill tens of thousands of South Korean civilians and thousands of American troops that are very close to the border.

SAVIDGE: All right. Well, you know, having spent time, as I say, there military officials told me that within the first hour in a Korean conflict 10,000 people would die. Most of them civilians.

David Rohde, thank you very much. Salena Zito and David Swerdlick, stay with us because we will be coming back.

Still ahead, tax day. There are protests and marches going on demanding that President Trump release his taxes. Tom Foreman is live for an event in Washington. Why today and how's the turnout?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martin, the turnout is going to be a lot bigger in a half hour when the protest gets under way. At least they're hoping so. And not just here, all across the country on this tax filing weekend.

[11:25:04] We'll have a complete report coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: Just about an hour from now, people are expected to gather for marches in roughly 180 protests across the nation including Washington, D.C. Among other things, activists are demanding that President Trump release his tax returns. In Washington, the march will kick off at the nation's capitol and then end at the Lincoln Memorial.

This comes as the deadline to file your taxes as we all pretty much know is right around the corner. Tuesday, April 18th. Got a bit of a reprieve.

CNN's Tom Foreman joins me now live from Washington.

Good morning, Tom. And what's happening on the ground there?

FOREMAN: Hi, Martin. The crowd is just beginning to gather here. And really in many ways, this is a backlash protest. These are people who are frustrated specifically that an adviser to President Trump said that the American people did not want to see his tax returns and they're convinced and the polls show that in fact an awful lot of Americans do want to see those returns.

[11:30:05] And we asked a few people earlier why they turned out today. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been in the military for over 20 years. We said it was time. This is something we want to see him do is to release his taxes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just an integrity thing because we're in the military. We were required to show any and every bit of information about ourselves, and it showed our integrity and our commitment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: But it's also about a lot more than that. There are people here talking about immigration issues and people talking about fair living wages and a general sense of being unhappy with the way this administration is going.

Nonetheless, they're going to go down this way. As soon as they're done here rallying for about an hour, they'll start a mile and a half, two-mile march down to the Lincoln Memorial at the other end of the mall. They hope to get a big crowd not only here but also in those 180 other cities and towns that you mentioned earlier -- Martin.

SAVIDGE: All right, Tom Foreman in Washington. We'll be checking back with you later. Thanks very much.

We are two weeks away, can you believe it, from the president's first 100 days mark. And still, his policies and inner circle are evolving. Ahead, how Trump's top advisers appear to be shifting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:35:24]

SAVIDGE: As the U.S. keeps an eye on North Korea and Syria, we are seeing changes in President Trump's views on China, and NATO, and also changes in his team of closest advisers, for example, Steve Bannon. He's that hard charging right-wing strategist and he got a public dressing down this week by the president. That's giving rise to more centrist views in the White House. CNN's Sara Murray reports one of the rising stars is a Democrat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): Donald Trump's inner circle may be getting another makeover and so may some of his policies.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I think we have shaken them up and had one of the most successful 13 weeks in the history of presidency.

MURRAY: Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is licking his wounds after a public dressing down by the president who described him to "The Wall Street Journal" as a guy that works for me. Now Washington's favorite parlor game, parsing the Trump palace intrigue is kicking into overdrive as the downfall of one aide appears to be giving rise to a lesser known face in the west wing.

Gary Cohn served as Trump's economic council director. The former COO of Goldman Sachs is a registered Democrat, but he's also given money to Republicans and he's been quietly pushing a more centrist agenda in the halls of the White House.

The success of the more moderate faction in the west wing which includes Cohn, Trump's son-in-law and senior, Jared Kushner, and Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy Deanna Powell was on clear display this week.

The president insisting China is no longer a currency manipulator, abandoning this refrain from the campaign trail.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are going to label China a currency manipulator, which is what they're doing.

MURRAY: And lavished praise on Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen after lampooning her during the campaign.

PRESIDENT TRUMP: And in my opinion, Janet Yellen is highly political and she's not raising rates for a very specific reason because Obama told her not to.

MURRAY: As the nationalist champions in Trump's White House appear to be losing ground, some internal alliances may be shifting. Policy Adviser Stephen Miller, a prominent Trump cheerleader on the campaign trail --

STEPHEN MILLER, TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Are you ready to elect a man who can't be bought, who can't be purchased and who will only answer to the American people?

MURRAY: Found a kindred spirit in Steve Bannon. Now a senior administration official says Miller has been branching out working more closely with Jared Kushner's office of American innovation and assisting Ivanka Trump in her policy pursuits on paid family leave.

As for the president, he ended the week non-committal on whether a staff shakeup is in the works telling "The Wall Street Journal," "From day-to-day I don't know."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MURRAY: This weekend, President Trump's senior staffers are taking a much needed break from all of this west wing turmoil to spend the Easter weekend with their families. President Trump is doing the same down in Mar-a-Lago where he hit the links on Friday. It was his 17th trip to the golf course since becoming president. Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.

SAVIDGE: Now it's perfect timing to bring back our CNN political commentator, David Swerdlick, and CNN contributor, Salena Zito. David, I'll begin with you. If a White House shake-up were to answer, how does this work in the timing world compared to previous administrations? Any new kind of record here?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I don't know if it's a new record, but I think that the amount of flip-flops of President Trump, the sort of shifting back and forth between one sort of click of advisers and another is really breath taking when you think about the fact that, you know, a lot of what Trump appealed to voters on, on the campaign trail was this idea that he was his own man.

He shot from the hip. Our previous leaders were so stupid and that he could flip a switch like a businessman and make everything happen and he is realizing now that he's got all these competing power centers and having to figure out exactly which one is going to, A, help him get things done and B, help him look good because his poll numbers aren't good.

So it is breath taking in that sense. I'm sure though that there have been past administrations going back through American history where there have been shakeups in the first 100 days.

SAVIDGE: Salena, what's your take on Bannon? He's always been a most interesting character, but now he seems to be on the outs. Would you agree?

SALENA ZITO, CNN COMMENTATOR: Yes. He definitely seems to be on the outs. I think interesting to me, I'm going across the country right now. I'm in Erie, Pennsylvania. I'm talking to voters who supported Obama for the first two cycles and then supported Trump.

And while they find this palace intrigue interesting and entertaining, they're not surprised that President Trump has this sort of disruptive force going on in his administration.

[11:40:10]It's sort of what they found appealing about him. They don't mind as of this point that he changes his mind about policy, about what he supports, and that he changes his mind about what is a good fit for him in his White House.

So at this moment, I think that people that supported him are -- this isn't changing their mind about him, but they do find it entertaining.

SAVIDGE: You know, I agree 100 percent because I flew back from Wyoming last night, the reddest of all states. They do not in any way have any complaints about what's going on.

David, let me ask you this. When your boss calls you just a guy I work with, that pretty much is the writing on the wall, don't you think? I'm wondering should Bannon be looking for an exit and say, All right, I'm out of here, or does he try to hang on?

SWERDLICK: You know, I don't know. I think this is a "Be careful what you wish for" situation on behalf of President Trump. I agree with you and I agree with Salena that in those quarters where Trump was most popular to begin with that the fact that he is shifting the guard so to speak in the White House is not going to hurt him tremendously in the polls.

The problem is that overall he's hurt in the polls because he has not had a successful first 100 days and Steve Bannon is one of the people taking the blame for that. The thing for President Trump, though, in my view is that if Steve Bannon is out, and I think he's definitely down but not necessarily out.

But if he winds up being out, President Trump is now going to have someone who was once inside go back to being part of the loyal opposition. Steve Bannon is a wealthy guy, a Harvard guy, former Navy guy, a guy who controls Breitbart. He's not in this for the paycheck.

If he leaves, he will find something to do. I talked to people at Breitbart who said he will find a way to try to hold the administration accountable for the agenda that he believes in.

SAVIDGE: Right. In other words, he could become a real problem for the administration. Salena, Cohn is a Wall Street guy. How will having a moderate person affect the president when it comes to issues of North Korea and Syria? Is it a good thing?

ZITO: Well, it's interesting. So if you look at the coalition that President Trump pulled together, a lot of these forces are people that voted for him like Erie, which is heavily Democrat, which voted for Obama twice in the large way, they're not as ideologically attracted to him.

That wasn't a driving force, right. It was that he was moderate. It was that he was not a politician. So to see him take advice from sort of a variety of different kinds of viewpoints doesn't upset them.

When I was talking to voters yesterday, they were very happy with what happened in Syria, and they don't have a problem with him showing strength in North Korea. Now, that does not mean that anybody wants to see troops on the ground.

They're not looking at that. They do like the idea and the imagery of America sort of having this -- letting these countries know, hey, we're not, you know, going to take this fiddling around that you consistently continue to do.

SAVIDGE: You know, David, it's been said that the president in taking this kind of international action has walked away from putting America first. Just as Salena pointed out, that's what I found in Wyoming. We're not going to be pushed around anymore is actually following what Trump said he was going to do. Putting America first on the world stage as well.

SWERDLICK: Yes. So I think ultimately in the 2016 election and I will give credit where credit is due. Salena was one of the people who captured this best and earliest in 2016. This idea that what people liked about Trump, people that supported him, was not particularly a policy position on this or that.

It was this idea that they wanted America to be represented by a president who spoke with this -- I'll put a finger in your eye. I'll talk to -- it's a change back from the sort of professorial, you know, thoughtful, pensive communication style of President Obama.

And people are getting what they voted for essentially when you have a president who, you know, in a couple days turns around and makes a decision to launch Tomahawk missiles. That being said though, a lot of that is talk as Salena just said.

It's not actually changing things on the ground in Syria. It's not resolving the refugee situation. It's not deposing Bashar al-Assad and maybe that's not the goal.

But as time goes on in this administration, I do think those Trump voters will get this changing of attitude that they like. What is unseen yet is whether or not they'll get a change in the state of things in the world or if the quality of their own lives economically and otherwise.

[11:45:11]SAVIDGE: And we will all be watching for that. David Swerdlick, thank you very much. Salena Zito, thank Good luck there in Erie.

Still ahead, a U.N. report singles out North Korean Embassy in Russia claiming that it's a front for Kim Jong-Un's elicit activities. The money laundering investigation is just ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort is facing new scrutiny over two key issues, his personal finances and political past consulting work in Ukraine.

[11:50:07]Property records reviewed by CNN reveal that Manafort purchased $17 million worth of real estate while working for Ukrainian politicians and a Russian billionaire. The properties are in New York City, Palm Beach and outside Washington, D.C. and they were bought between 2006 and 2012.

U.S. officials are also investigating potential Ukrainian corruption involving Manafort's former client the ex-president of Ukraine, as well as any role that Manafort may have played in Russian's meddling in the 2016 election. Manafort strongly denies any wrong doing.

Kim Jong-Un's elicit activity is increasing in scale, scope and sophisticated, that according to a U.N. report that singled out North Korea's embassy in Moscow as a diplomatic cover for the dictator's illegal activity.

CNN's Paula Newton is joining me now from Moscow. Hello, Paul. What exactly does all of this mean and how significant is the report?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Marty, it's so interesting that this all spelled out in a U.N. report and we'll get to Russia's reaction to it in a second, but it involves something called Kumsan Trading Corporation. In the report it basically calls this "a cash route to Pyongyang."

Both the U.N. and U.S. Treasury has said look, this is a company that deals in prohibited minerals and its sanctioned, but it shares an address with the North Korean Embassy in Moscow. That is the key there.

These are sanctions violations the way the U.N. report sees it, but on the other hand, Russia just responded saying, look, this is not a company that's registered in the Russian Federation.

We asked Russia to respond to it and they referred to us -- they didn't look at the U.N. report, they referred us to their website on their Foreign Ministry report.

What are we getting to with all of this? Martin, Russia and North Korea have ties not as significant as China but they definitely have ties. They share a border. They have some military involvement with each other, in terms of international arms fares.

They have an economic relationship and also some migrant labor comes to North Korea. Throughout all of this the U.N. is watching this carefully because what they want to see is a little more vigilance on the part of member states when they point out these violations.

But what's interesting here, is what the motives for Russia might be. Take a listen to Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL RICHARDSON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: I think Russia is trying to have it both ways. They vote for more sanctions in the U.N. Security Council, the P5 so publicly they're for restraining North Korea, put more sanctions when North Korea conducts missile tests, but there are reports that Russia and North Korea have gotten in a tighter relationship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEWTON: And what is that tighter relationship do for Russia? It again, ensures leverage and more -- they have a seat at the table when it comes to North Korean relations but it's not just China that wants a say -- and Martin, we've been talking about it for days now, how Russia has insinuated itself in the Middle East through Syria, it is doing the same through North Korea, continuing to try to build up those ties with the U.N. and the U.S. Treasury are worried that those ties are violating those sanctions.

SAVIDGE: They would definitely be worried. Paula Newton, thank you very much. Nice to see you.

Rebel bombs, chemical weapons, it is the world for most Syrians yet Bashar al-Assad denies it. Our CNN report still ahead when NEWSROOM continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:58:10]

SAVIDGE: Ebola, Zika, bird flu, recent outbreaks have claimed thousands of lives and the worst might yet come. In CNN's new original film "Unseen Enemy," Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper take a look at the spread of infectious diseases and why some people don't take vaccines to try to prevent them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So question does she have anything?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vaccine hesitancy is something that we observe to be on the rise which is quite alarming. Influenza is possibly preventable with a vaccine. That's great but nobody uses it. That's not great.

One of the most common misperceptions about the flu vaccine is that people say, you know what, I am in my best years, I'm healthy, never been sick, but there's another aspect and that's not just me, it's also the people around me.

Because of the potential of me giving something to somebody that may be serious to them, even if it may not be serious to me at this moment, and I may very well sit on the subway next to somebody who has a very weak immune system and they may not know it and I may not know it, but I may give somebody the flu.

There's the question of, the common good versus the individual good. If we want any effectiveness of a vaccine, we need to get vaccinated.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: "Unseen Enemy" airs tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN. The next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.

Hello. I'm Martin Savidge in for Fredricka Whitfield, who is off, and this is the CNN NEWSROOM.

It's after midnight in North Korea where that country is wrapping up a day of alarming military parades that showcased never before seen intercontinental missiles.