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North Korea Missile Test Fails as Pence Arrives in Seoul; McMaster on NK: All Options on the Table; Trump Defends Reversal on China Currency Label; Nearly 70 Children Killed in Syria Car Bomb Attack; LeVell in Competitive Race for Georgia Congressional Seat; Trump Supporters, Protesters Get Into Fistfights. Aired 3-4p ET
Aired April 16, 2017 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:00:06] MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Vice President Mike Pence is just across the border in Seoul, South Korea celebrating Easter with U.S. and South Korean troops. He said the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea has never been stronger. And U.S. National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster is in Kabul, Afghanistan telling media that he will be exploring a full range of options.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. GEN. H.R. MCMASTER, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: But what must happen is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And so the president has asked us to be prepared to give him a full range of options to remove that threat to the American people and to our allies and partners in the region.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: The president is indicating that China is also working with the United States, tweeting this morning, quote, why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens. CNN International Correspondent Will Ripley is in Pyongyang with more details in the failed missile launch.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Most North Koreans will never know about Sunday's failed missile launch. That missile test fired from the eastern coastal city of Sinpo, home to a North Korean submarine base and the same location where Kim Jong-un tried to launch a missile just last week ahead of President Trump's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. North Korea's supreme leader showed force over the weekend at the nation's Day of the Sun military parade. We saw a variety of new missiles that were on display including what analysts say are two new kinds of potential ballistic missiles that could eventually carry a nuclear warhead towards the mainland United States which we know is the goal of North Korea's leader. They want these weapons of mass destruction for self preservation to protect their national sovereignty from what they view as the imminent threat of attack and invasion by the United States and its allies.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was in the region. He spoke with U.S. troops for Easter Sunday service. Briefly talking about the North Korean situation but not indicating that there will be any kind of specific U.S. response to this failed launch. U.S. officials saying that why would they invest resources talking about a failed launch.
However, if there is something more provocative such as a sixth nuclear test which analysts believe could happen anytime in North Korea, that may force the United States to take some kind of action. So there still is the potential for this situation to escalate, the question here, timing. Will North Korea try to launch missiles while the U.S. vice president is in the region? Or will they wait until the 25th of April, a major military anniversary here in North Korea? Or maybe it will be neither one of those days.
That is the thing with North Korea when it comes to these kinds of provocative acts. It's not a matter of if but when.
Will Ripley, CNN, Pyongyang, North Korea.
SAVIDGE: Will Ripley, thanks. All right, let's go across the border now where CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash is the only network correspondent traveling with the vice president in Seoul, South Korea. Dana, where was the vice president when he was notified of that failed missile launch?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Vice President Mike Pence was on his plane, on Air Force Two on his way here to South Korea when he got word about North Korea's failed missile test. It was actually within an hour of taking off after refueling in Alaska that he was told. His advisers came back and told those of us reporters on his plane that it failed within four or five seconds of the attempt and that's why they made clear that they were not going to make a big deal out of it. That their response was going to very much to downplay it.
And that's certainly what we saw from the vice president himself. His first remarks here on the ground in South Korea was in and around having Easter dinner with U.S. troops. And he talked vaguely about what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This morning's provocation from the North is just the latest reminder of the risks each one of you face every day in the defense of the freedom of the people of South Korea and the defense of America in this part of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now that's a far cry from the really tough talk we've seen and heard from the president. President Trump both in his words before cameras and on Twitter over the past week or so being very aggressive vis-a-vis North Korea. But the vice president and his aides are making very clear that they don't think that that is appropriate for several reasons. [15:05:00] One is they don't want to give the North Koreans the satisfaction of reacting or maybe overreacting particularly because this was a failed test and kind of an embarrassment for the North Korean regime, but also because they understood making their way here for the vice president of the United States to be on the Korean Peninsula at this tense time. And also a day after North Korea's biggest holiday of the year where they like to show their military might. According to an aide traveling with the vice president, this was not a matter of if but a matter of when. And had there been a nuclear missile test and not something that clearly was not of that ilk, the U.S. reaction and action could be quite different.
Dana Bash, CNN, Seoul, South Korea.
SAVIDGE: Thanks Dana. While Pence is in South Korea, the president's top security adviser H.R. McMaster is in Afghanistan. He's discussing ways to move forward with the war on terror. And also weighed in on North Korea saying that all options are on the table in how the U.S. could respond to the rogue nation's growing nuclear weapons ambitions. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCMASTER: All options are on the table undergoing refinement and further development.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: And how close do you think North Korea is to having a nuclear weapon capable of reaching the United States?
MCMASTER: Well, you know, estimates in these sorts of things vary widely. What is clear is, as long, as long as their behavior continues, as long as they continue missile development even though this was a failed missile, they get better and they learn lessons. So what's critical is for them to stop this destabilizing behavior, stop the development of these weapons, and denuclearize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: CNN Correspondent Jessica Schneider joins us now from the southern White House in Florida. Jessica, President Trump is breaking his silence on North Korea's recent missile launch on Twitter. What does it mean?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right Martin. You know, President Trump has been down here in South Florida throughout the Easter weekend, but for the most part he has stayed fairly quiet, even relaxed. We saw him over on the golf course for two times this weekend. But this morning President Trump is somewhat breaking his silence in particular over Twitter.
He did tweet about five times this morning, espousing on everything from China to North Korea. In fact, he indirectly reference the escalating tensions over in the Korean Peninsula this morning tweeting out this about the might of the U.S. military. President Trump tweeting this morning, "Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before. Frankly, we have no choice."
So perhaps a veiled reference to North Korea. The real mouth piece of the administration, though, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, he has spoken out quite extensively this morning talking about the fact that the U.S. and President Trump have repeatedly said that they will not just stand by while this increasingly hostile regime continues to show its might saying that the U.S. is standing by with its allies saying that no options are off the table. But at the same time General McMaster saying that they do not want to exercise military options. They want to keep armed conflict out of this and saying that they are working through several different scenarios, several different plans, but definitely hoping to keep it peaceful and President Trump is talking the same way. Martin?
SAVIDGE: All right, Jessica Schneider, thank you very much.
On the presidential campaign trail, it was candidate Donald Trump who called China a currency manipulator. But as president he's calling China a friend. Now a top Democrat is calling Trump out. Plus, was it sabotage?
Unlike last month's North Korea's latest missile launch failed. But was it really a mechanical issue? We'll discuss that as well.
[15:12:17] SAVIDGE: The focus today is abroad with President Trump's top security adviser in Afghanistan talking terror, and Vice President Pence in South Korea discussing how to handle the threat from North Korea. This morning the president weighing in on North Korea, leaning on China for help. Tweeting this, "But why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem? We will see what happens." This after Schumer slammed the president last week saying he needed to be tougher on China.
Schumer responded to Trump today with this, quote, "You have it backwards. If you are tough on China, on trade, it'd help American workers and they'd be more willing to help with North Korea."
Joining me to discuss this back and forth, Metro columnist and political analyst Ellis Henican and CNN Political Commentator Alice Stewart. This seems to be a clear reversal from Trump's remarks on the campaign trail. Let's just remember.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We can't continue to allow China to rape our country and that's what are they doing. China is taking our jobs, our money, our base, our manufacturing. What they've done to us is the greatest single theft in the history of the world. The greatest abuser in the history of this country. Rampant theft of intellectual property, a currency manipulator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: So, the president seems to have tweeted his own answer to this in that he said, you know, why should I call them a currency manipulator, meaning China, if they will or may help us when it comes to North Korea? So North Korea apparently has allowed him the opportunity to shift positions here.
ELLIS HENICAN, METRO COLUMNIST AND BEST-SELLING AUTHOR: Well, it's funny isn't it. I mean, you wonder, did he believe it the first time? Does he believe it this time? And a decision like this, are they manipulating currencies or not.
There are to be something that's open to some kind of objective analysis either they are or they aren't. Regardless of whether they're being nice to us or being helpful with North Korea. It's just a bunch of confusion. Strategically, maybe it will help, we'll see. But it's pretty hard to articulate in a simple rationale way I'd say.
SAVIDGE: Alice, Senator McCain weighed in on North Korea this morning. In fact, let's hear what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, MTP DAILY HOST: Is the carrot and stick approach with China worth doing? Is it -- is using our trade practices or these conversations about currency worth having these debates in order to influence them in North Korea?
[15:15:00] SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: To prevent North Korea from having a missile with a nuclear weapon that could strike the United States and we would have to rely on our ability to intercept it, and by the way I am told that we do have that ability, is still awfully risky business. So this is really very serious. This guy in North Korea is not rational. His father and his grandfather were much more rational than he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: So Alice to you, the president has implied that if he can't get China to help or others that the U.S. is willing to go it alone. How dangerous would that be?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that remains to be seen. But I think it's important for him to back off in some way his tough talk on the campaign trail about China being a currency manipulator if they're going to work with us. No one is in a better position to put pressure on North Korea to halt their weapons program than China. They deal with 80 percent of their exports, 100 percent of their energy. North Korea relies on China heavily.
So it's in our best interest to have a better relationship with China and try and work with them to get North Korea to stop their program. That being said, I think the president was quite clear and has been that, look if China is not going to put pressure and they're not going to step forward and take action (inaudible), we're prepared to go in alone. And our national security officials made that clear that all options are on the table when it comes to moving forward if necessary.
SAVIDGE: And the president seems to imply with his tweet this morning that he's willing to give China at least some time for the moment. Ellis, let me ask you this. New York Senator Chuck Schumer said since Trump took office he has been all talk and no action on China and trade. Does he have a point when he says that Trump has it all wrong? Will being tougher be better for American workers? What do you think?
HENICAN: A little toughness in action might be nice in order to catch up with that rhetoric a little bit. One of the dangers I think Martin of being so bellicose in the way that you talk when you're a major world power, you shouldn't be bluffing. And when the other side says no, we're not going to do it, what then do you do?
I mean, are we really prepared to invade North Korea? Do we really want to put Seoul at risk? We're yet to hear any coherent strategy on it and I don't think we know the answers to that.
SAVIDGE: Alice, there's no secret that China has a lot of leverage in the United States, both within the debt that it owns of this country and of course in the issue of trade. Is it that the president perhaps has become more enlightened as he's been on the job that -- wait a minute, I cannot just spout off against China, we need china in a number of ways, North Korea just being one?
STEWART: Well, Martin, I think he's realizing that governing is much different than campaigning and he's realizing that on a lot of fronts. We saw that with regard to NATO and Russia and also with China. And I think it's important for him to make these changes and course corrections if you will on a lot of these issues. And I think having a good relationship with China is important, but also stressing that we are, you know, not afraid to go it alone.
And to Ellis's point about bluffing, look, I think President Barack Obama and his red line was a terrible bluff. And it goes to show that America was not willing to make good on its threats. And clearly with the recent actions of this administration, with the action that we took with regard to Syria, it goes to show, look, if you're going to continue to kill innocent people and kill innocent civilians, then America is willing to step up and take action and be strong and be a leader with regard to our foreign policy.
I think these are important course corrections with President Trump and I think it just goes to make America even stronger in the eyes of the world.
SAVIDGE: Ellis, real quick in the seconds we have left, we struck again Syria and, yes, we dropped a huge bomb in Afghanistan. Neither one of those countries is in North Korea and can you really equate that as a policy?
HENICAN: Well, in this way, Martin. You know, all three cases we don't really know what the overriding policy is. We know that there was a missile strike. We know that there was a "mother of all bombs" dropped. We know that there's a bunch of talk in this case of Korea.
But how far are we prepared to go? I think we're still waiting for the Trump doctrine on that. I guess is a good way to sum it up.
SAVIDGE: And we will continue to watch. Ellis Henican and Alice Stewart, thank you both for joining us. Happy Easter.
STEWART: Happy Easter Martin.
SAVIDGE: Ahead, did North Korea's failed missile launch release some tension (inaudible). And should we buy North Korea's display of never before seen missiles? We'll discuss it all.
[15:23:27] SAVIDGE: North Korea's failed missile launch is being called provocative by Vice President Mike Pence who is traveling in South Korea today in a show of support with the U.S. ally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: This is a challenging time all over the world. But especially here in the Asia Pacific.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: CNN's Paula Hancocks is in Seoul, South Korea as well. Paula, what's the reaction there to this failed missile launch?
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martin there's been some condemnation certainly from the South Korean point of view. And there were in the U.S. the statement seemed to be fairly short at this point with very little comment. The South Koreans are still sticking to the same line saying they condemn the missile launch.
And also we heard from the foreign ministry pointing at again that any ballistic missile testing from North Korea is in violation of United Nations' resolutions which they have been all along. So there has been annoyance in South Korea. This is a tried and tested road, though. There have been so many missile launches. In fact, almost three dozen since the beginning of last year from North Korea that there's very little more that the South Koreans can do at this point than condemn the launches that they see.
And there's certainly a feeling here in South Korea as well. But even if it is a failure that in the long term that doesn't really matter because there's an assumption that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will keep going until he manages to get a successful test. And there's many analysts and officials will always tell you, there is something to be learned out of failures as well.
[15:20:06] SAVIDGE: All right, Paula Hancocks, thank you very much. Joining us for the perspective there from Seoul.
So, let's move on now and talk with our panel about all of this. Joining me is Rebecca Grant, president of IRIS Independent Research and a military analyst and then David Schmerler, a research associate at James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
David, I understand you've conducted extensive research on North Korea's missile and nuclear program, so let me start by first getting your reaction to this failed missile launch. Which would you say is more significant? The fact that it failed or that they would attempt to do it at a time when tensions are so high and the vice president is on the way?
DAVID SCHMERLER, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, JAMES MARTIN CENTER FOR NONPROLIFERATION STUDIES: Well, rocket science and missile launches in North Korea are used for multiple purposes in North Korea. Sometimes they're used as a sign of defiance if something is happening in the region or the U.S. said something and they want to respond, they may conduct a missile launch in retaliation to certain actions taken by the United States. But because they are very interested in developing their ballistic missile technology, they will of course test missiles and through the process of developing new missile systems, many of them will fail. So, (inaudible) but it's expected in the process of developing a better ballistic missile.
SAVIDGE: Right, and as we've said, you learn as much from failure as you can almost from success, maybe even more. Rebecca, this failure does come after North Korea showed off its military might that is with a parade yesterday. What are your thoughts on the missiles that you saw at that parade? Some have made a lot about them. What do you think?
REBECCA GRANT, PRESIDENT, IRIS INDEPENDENT RESEARCH: Yes, it was quite a variety of missiles and the big questions are, how close are they on an intercontinental missile? And are they making progress on a submarine launch ballistic missile? We know they put crude objects into orbit so they have some capability.
Might as well they're not quite there yet on either one. So they're learning from their launches. Our analysts are learning from their launches too. But here's the new thing, these launches are starting to count against them in the international sphere. These launches are now driving the U.S. and China to work more closely together to tamp this down. So they can't just continue this program without big political consequences.
SAVIDGE: And David, you saw the missiles as well. I believe that you even called one of the ICBM's Frankenmissile. Explain what you meant by that. And why were you surprised by what you saw? Because some of it, it looks like Soviet hardware, say the '80s and '90s.
SCHMERLER: Right, well, North Korea's ballistic missile program was founded on the simple scud missile which they acquired from Egypt which in turn Egypt had acquired from the Soviet Union. So the origins of North Korea's ballistic missile program is Russian. And a lot of the new technology that we've seen that comes -- that breaks away from this initial I think it's got to be missile also goes back to other Russian systems including a FLBM called the R-27.
I was rather surprised, traditionally in past military days we see the scud variance, scud-B's and Nodongs which are traditionally viewed as being the backbone of the North Korean ballistic missile fleet. However this year what we saw were the solid fuel SLBM and (inaudible) which is the K-15 which we saw tested I think earlier this year. And we saw the Frankenmissile, you want to address that. We saw a new missile on a transporter rector launcher which is a vehicle that carries the missile.
SAVIDGE: Right. The reason we worry about that is that it makes it hard to track and can be launched quickly and its got a solid rocket motor, right? All of those (inaudible).
SCHMERLER: Well, the one that we saw, we're not sure about the fuel type yet. The missile I was pretty briefly associated with that truck is a liquid fuel missile that have a series of failures but was recently (inaudible) last year was a -- is that however this new one has the front of one of their ICBM configurations that we've seen and the back is completely new. So I have no idea what to make of that one yet.
SAVIDGE: David, yes. Let me just talk there before we get too deep in the weeds as far as design. This morning Representative Ed Royce was on the State of the Union with Jake Tapper. And said that they said North Korea's missile program is advancing quickly. Let's just quick listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ED ROYCE (R), CALIFORNIA: We shouldn't take too much comfort because even in failure this program continues to advance and they will be closely not to -- in the not too distant future in a position where they could hit all 50 states in the United States with an ICBM. So, I do say don't take too much comfort in this, but it is a good development that it failed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Rebecca, he thinks that North Korea could some day soon have the ability to hit the U.S with nuclear missiles. Does that comment surprise you or does that seem to be in line with what we know of what this nation wants?
[15:30:05] GRANT: That's in line. One of our admirals and strategic command said last year it's prudent to assume as a military planner that they're getting close to this capability. But remember she's saying, one, we have good missile defenses, ground base interceptors in Alaska. A lot of sea-based missile defenses in the region and of course this (inaudible) which is going into South Korea.
And secondly, I think it's Kim Jong-un who should be worried. Our military and our alliance can do things to his target set that he's never even thought of. And China, North Korea is supposed to be their buffer state. They're getting very uncomfortable and that's why we see China starting to work with us. So yes, there is a concern we need to track this. We have technology solutions and we're also using our military forces in the region to keep the pressure on and change this very dangerous game.
SAVIDGE: There's no question there, the stakes are incredibly high. Rebecca Grant and David Schmerler, thank you very much for joining us.
SCHMERLER: Thank you.
GRANT: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: Ahead, buses and cars scorched after a bombing. Who's behind the attack is unclear but we do know that nearly 70 children were killed. We are on the live report.
[15:35:20] SAVIDGE: The Pope in his Easter Sunday message this morning called a car bombing in Syria vile. Saturday's explosion killed 126 people, most of them or at least half are believed to be children. The victims, evacuees who were trying to escape the civil unrest in several Syrian villages.
It's still unknown who was behind the bombing. There is new video though that comes from pro-regime Syrian news center reportedly showing the moment that bomb exploded in Aleppo suburb and we must warn you it is graphic.
In addition to the deaths, at least 55 others were injured. Let's bring in now Nick Paton Walsh, CNN Senior International Correspondent and Nick, what are the latest developments in what appears to be a horrific attack on the civilians.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Martin, one of the most chilling numbers, all the (inaudible) just going through that, a 126 dead, over 60 of them are thought to being children. Some of them torn apart in their seats as those coaches left the two towns of Foah and Kefraya. Now in short, Foah and Kefraya a full of regime sympathizers, those who go alongside with the Syrian government of Damascus but they were on the siege by rebel forces.
A kind of swap was underway so that those held in rebel sympathizing towns surrounded by regime forces could be released in exchange for those in Foah and Kefraya getting out as well. Now, amid that exchange is when this convoy of buses from those two regime sympathizing towns were attacked by a car bomb and it is very rare frankly in one instant that you hear numbers as high as 126 toll in Syrian but especially rare for regime sympathizers to be targeted in this way. These images from that side absolutely killing.
We understand that sort of tit for tat evacuation and swap for populations is still more or less under way but it certainly has brought chills across many involved in this process. The people could be (inaudible) the cease fire was declared and let these populations will (inaudible) in Mosul.
SAVIDGE: Unlike the chemical attack, it has people again wondering what can be done possibly to stop it maybe. Is there is anything realistically President Trump or the U.S. could do?
WALSH: Not when it comes to slowing this kind of tit for tat savagery in Syria, not unless the United States wants to involve itself much more likely on the ground with its own presence there. There was a possibility maybe they could arm more intensively moderate Syrian rebels, but then all you're really doing is boosting again another side in this conflict with another fresh set of resources. Syria's curse has been most wars normally end when one side gets exhausted. Now both sides in this seem to get extra help from fresh actors each time they look like they're beginning to tire. Of course many western proponents seem critic to this Assad regime saying that he can't be allowed as the butcher Donald Trump described him to be victorious in this war, but at least him being on the military front but it does potentially slow the member of civilian deaths you might argue and maybe brings the war closer to some sort of slow down or end.
But now the Trump policy options are few and (inaudible) frankly when it comes to intervening in Syria unless you want to wholesale trying to own that complete some degree. And al-Assad, this is sort of tentatively being part of the new White House's policy on this subject. Martin?
SAVIDGE: Nick Paton Walsh, thank you very much.
Ahead, we will talk with one man who was a Trump surrogate. What he has to say about the president's foreign policy moves.
Plus, from town halls special elections, Democrats feeling energized. And in Georgia, there is a chance that a Democrat could turn a historically red seat blue. We'll talk with one of the Republican candidates ahead.
[15:43:44] SAVIDGE: North Korea launches a failed missile test that was just hours before Vice President Pence arrives in South Korea, the first stop on his four-nation tour in Asia.
Meantime, President Trump has threatened to deal with North Korea with or without China's help. All of this comes on the heels of the U.S. bombing of ISIS fighters in Afghanistan using the most powerful non- nuclear bomb in the American arsenal. And then there was a series of missile strikes, you'll remember on a Syrian air base. That was in retaliation for a gas attack on civilians.
So, let's talk about all of this. And for that we're going to talk to Bruce LeVell as the director of the National Diversity Coalition, and he was an adviser of President Trump during his campaign. And now, he is also running, we should point out for the open congressional seat in Georgia actually right by where I live.
So welcome, happy Easter to you.
BRUCE LEVELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL DIVERSITY COALITION FOR TRUMP: Thanks for having me. Hope you vote for me too and happy Easter to everyone out there, beautiful day.
SAVIDGE: We'll see as we go about it. So, the president's been under fire from Congress for not seeking approval for his military actions. Do you think he should have gone to Congress first?
[15:45:07] LEVELL: Well, unfortunately -- well, it's like the president said from day one during the campaign, keeping his promises putting America first, wanting to make sure that we are safe. You know, Martin, we've had tremendous amount of tax in the last eight years and a lot of a tax across our neighboring countries and allies that we have. And it's a dangerous time right now, and the president has said and is committed to defend the United States by any means necessary.
SAVIDGE: But if you were in Congress, if you win this seat, would you have wanted him to come to you and say hey, I'm going to do this --
LEVELL: You know, it's interesting but, you know, I trust the president. I know him, he's a good man. I trust his leadership, his decision and General Mattis and his national security team.
And at some point, the American people have to realize Martin, that he is the commander-in-chief in one of the most powerful positions in the free world. And that if he gets Intel, like a lot of the citizens don't have or not privileged to, we have to trust the fact that our leaders have the best interest of protecting the United States first by any means necessary. So, I'm very confident in his leaders, especially in General Mattis and his national security team.
SAVIDGE: So, what about if the president says, look, and he has said this. When it comes to North Korea, if we cannot get China onboard or if we cannot get China to do something, we will do it. In other words, he's implying that we're going to just act on our own. Is that wise?
LEVELL: You know, I don't know. I disagree. I think, you know, he had a great meeting with the president of China at Mar-a-Lago. The Chinese, you know, government realizes the imminent danger across the country as well as just, you know, South Korea, et cetera, in the region. But, you know, one thing about the neighboring -- a country like China, for example, Martin. If there is no peace, there is no economic growth, there's no movement and (inaudible) across the nation.
So, in terms of keeping this country and keeping our neighboring allies safe, there has to be and there will be a lot of our countries that are friendly to us that want to have great input in terms of making sure that North Korea doesn't pose a threat to the region. So I think respectfully, the president is working with everyone. I don't believe that he's not working with the Chinese government. But I think he's going to have to build more and more confidence as he grows into his 100 plus days of the presidency. He's going to gain a lot of momentum in his leaderships.
SAVIDGE: You know the president clearly. You're with him, you know, just this past week. When he deals with foreign issues now, it seems that he was always talking about America first. But now he has gone on to these very -- well, in the case of Syria, he has actually launched a military attack. Do you see that as getting away from what he originally said or do you see it part of his message during the campaign?
LEVELL: Well, it gets back to what I said earlier. And, you know, it's like the information that he gets is -- that could propose an imminent danger to the United States that we don't hear, he has to act on that. And Martin, like I said before, you know, we've been getting hit several times, over eight times in this nation as well as overseas. So the information that he gets is -- he uses the best judgment that he has to his ability to protect the United States by any means necessary.
SAVIDGE: Well, let's talk about this race that's coming up here in Georgia, the sixth district because it's really being looked upon by many as kind of a national early referendum on the Trump administration. You have a young Democrat who's come forward, seems to be doing very well, Jon Ossof, and then you have a number of Republicans of which you are one.
SAVIDGE: Is this -- do you see this as kind of a referendum vote here that do you think that some people are starting to already weigh in?
LEVELL: No, I disagree. And here's the reason why. It is so unfortunate, Martin, that you have a young man that doesn't live in the district, 30 years old.
SAVIDGE: He's the Democrat, Jon Ossoff.
LEVELL: Right, Jon Ossoff. Probably couldn't name one shop owner in the district to accept $8 million in a district where he doesn't live, has no idea what's going on. But most of all -- you know Martin, I was at a candidate forum one night and I said, you know, they don't care about you, you realize that. And I said, but don't worry because there are other Republicans who are on the take just like you.
All this is -- what's happening right now and this is why President Trump was so strong about disavowing pacs and pushing back from special interests. The Republicans and Democrats have been guilty on both sides of the aisle. This is what created this mess.
That's why, in my case, all of during my campaign, I have disavowed pacs, I have pushed back and will not accept any lobby money because it's dangerous to the American people. And this young man doesn't realize that he's actually bought and paid for too just like some of our Republicans Martin.
SAVIDGE: There are so many Republicans. I mean, that maybe one of the problems for the Republicans in this race. There are 11 of them.
LEVELL: Yes, but there's only one Bruce LeVell that will not get the money or no one owns me. There are Republicans who are bought and paid for. There are Democrats that are bought and paid for.
SAVIDGE: Do you go to Washington where you represent the people on the district? Or do you go there to be a supporter of President Trump in Congress?
[15:50:00] LEVELL: Well, my whole goal was to run to support the president's initiatives and his agendas, especially the trillion- dollar infrastructure. Martin, you've seen what happened with I-85. I am the only candidate who's talking about transportation. You know, I was the former chairman at --
SAVIDGE: Just in case we have to know that was the firing collapse of the major --
LEVELL: Right and, you know, for someone as myself to have that relationship, to help the sixth district, that's why I got in the race because the president is serious about the trillion-dollar infrastructure. And, you know, as well as I do, Georgia, Metro Atlanta, has the worst traffic corridor in the nation. So you need a guy like me that can say, you know what, let's fight for tax dollars to come back and alleviate some of this traffic that we got.
SAVIDGE: All Right. Well, we have to leave it there. Candidate Levell, thank you very much for coming in, happy Easter to you.
LEVELL: Thank you.
SAVIDGE: We'll be back right after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[15:55:11] DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This will shock you just how much of an impact being lonely can have on your health. What they have found now in a few different studies is that it's on par with being a smoker. It increases your risk for real diseases like heart disease, like diabetes.
So, we think about loneliness in this abstract sense, but the health effects are very objective and very real. As a neuroscientist, I was so interested in this idea that we know where pain resides in the brain. And what we now know is that people who are chronically lonely, they have higher activity in that pain part of the brain.
So, even though it's loneliness it can register as physical pain. Having friends really does seem to keep people healthy. The simple act of being social, we find people's immune system actually perform better.
Simply saying "hello" can make the person who gets that greeting live longer. The evidence is pretty clear on this. And we're starting to get more and more evidence that you yourself by saying hello, it's so empowering that could actually do wonders for your health as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: Just a few hours ago, President Trump went on an all-out Twitter rant. In one tweet he questioned why some people are still interested in his tax returns. He said quote, I did what was an almost impossible thing to do for a Republican, easily won the Electoral College. Now tax returns are brought up again?
Then this comes in response to a day of marches across the country with protesters calling on the president to release his tax returns. In January, an overwhelming 74 percent of Americans thought that the Trump should release his taxes. And it's not just Democrats advocating his returns. A majority of Republicans believe he should release them as well. Again, this is from polling that came from January.
In contrast to the peaceful tax marches, a rally in Berkeley, California got violent. Twenty one people were arrested and hundreds of police were called to the scene when fist fights broke out between Trump supporters and protesters. CNN Sara Ganim has the details.
SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Protesters clash in Berkeley, California as anti-Trump protesters showed up for a scheduled pro-Trump patriot day rally. Fireworks, bottles, even traffic cones were thrown as the two sides clashed quickly turning violent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fascist. They call me that. I ain't no racist. I ain't no racist, I ain't no fascist. I think everyone here should have a speech.
GANIM (voice-over): That man later walked away bloody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, a rock hit me in the face. It's cool. That's what we came here for.
GANIM (voice-over): Police say 21 were arrested, 11 injured, seven taken to the hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're crazy but I was hoping that in some way we could stop them from doing what they do but they did anyway.
GANIM (voice-over): Many of the protesters covered their faces, dressed all in black, a mesh barrier meant to separate the two sides quickly fell down. Protesters began pushing, shoving, and hitting people on the opposite side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These guys are cowards. This is all they do. They hide with their masks. They sucker punched and they hit me in the back of the head.
GANIM (voice-over): Police say they confiscated flag poles, a knife, a stun gun, and eventually used pepper spray to get the crowd under control. This is not the first time Berkeley has seen a protest turn violent this year. In February, protesters caused more than $100,000 in damage after a night of violent protests against the appearance of right wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos.
In fact Martin, this has become a common place for this group, these two sides to meet and clash, and oftentimes this year those clashes have become violent.
SAVIDGE: Well, Sara, I know you've interviewed, you know, one of the people who has been at a few of these kind of violent events. Tell us more about what the thinking -- what was going on? Is it just becoming a grudge match now?
GANIM: Well, there are groups that tend to attend these events. Now not everyone who goes becomes violent. But just to give you a peek inside some of the mindsets, one of the people who I interviewed, Nathan Damigo, his group has been classified a hate group by the southern poverty law center. I interviewed him about that earlier this year. And there was a video posted online of his role in this yesterday and it's pretty graphic, Martin.
I want to show it to you. In it you can see Nathan Damigo, he actually punches a woman in the face. I'm hoping we could show you that video. Here you go. I mean, this is the kind of behavior that has been shown in the video that's come out of this event yesterday. And this is violence that can be attributed to both sides. Nathan Damigo is a self-proclaimed, what you will call a nationalist, white nationalist.
He believes in a lot of the same ideals as the fascist movement. And you see the violence coming from that side and also from the anti- fascist movement.