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CNN NEWSROOM

Georgia Race: First Real Verdict Of Trump's Presidency?; U.S. To Test Ability To Shoot Down North Korean Missiles; Hunt For Facebook Murder Suspect Ends With His Suicide. Aired 2:30-3:00p ET

Aired April 18, 2017 - 14:30   ET

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


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BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: FIRST 100 DAYS ANCHOR: Here wego. Let's talk Georgia. The political spotlight on this southern state. A special election happening today to fill the congressional seat left open by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. A district that is historically gone to the republicans for the past 38 years. But 30-year-old democratic Jon Ossoff now garnering all the attention hoping to win that seat. But not if President Trump can help it. With a fiery tweet, he said, a democrat Jon Ossoff would be a disaster in congress, vary leak on crime and illegal immigration. Bad for jobs and one tire away to say no. And (INAUDIBLE)

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you don't vote tomorrow, Ossoff raise your taxes, destroy your healthcare and flood or country with illegal immigrants.

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BALDWIN: Jon Ossoff well aware President Trump is paying close attention to this race. Here he was.

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JON OSSOF, (D) GEORGIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Well, I appreciate the president's interest in the race, although he's misinformed with respect to my priorities. This race is about local economic issues here and values that unite people in the community in Georgia before it's about the national political circus. Everyone is looking for national implications but all politics is local.

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BALDWIN: Randy Evans is with me, he's an RNC committee member from Georgia and senior adviser to Newt Gingrich's 2012 presidential campaign. He also worked with American representative both Tom Price and Newt Gingrich during their elections in this very sixth congressional district. Jeff Kazanow understands firsthand how tough it can be to run as a democrat in this red state of Georgia. He lost to Tom Price in that bid for congress in 2012. So, gentleman, welcome to both of you.

JEFF KAZANOW, DEMOCRAT WHO LOST TO TOM PRICE IN 2012 CONGRESSIONAL RACE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Randy, whoever the -- ultimately the republican is in this race, would that person wants the president's help?

RANDY EVANS, WORKED WITH PRICE, GINGRICH IN SIXTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: I think you would want every vote you could get. And that you couldn't get Jon Ossoff's vote because he doesn't live in the district but you would want every other vote that you could get and I think you would get the president -- I had launched today with Governor Deal, he's 100 percent fine whoever the nominee is. I think you'll see the entire republican establishment come together, combined with all other republican voters to make sure that --

BALDWIN: But Randy, the -- really, the question is, do you want President Trump? We've seen -- we've seen him tweet, we saw and we heard the robocall. Do you want him really, you know, having a voice in this election? Speaking up on behalf of the republican?

EVANS: Absolutely. You heard from Jon Ossoff at the beginning of your show, Brooke, the democrat strategy is to make it a localize, non-nationalize election because they know on a national scale of a national agenda, democrats lose. Donald Trump represents the national agenda and we want him to be firm out front supporting our nominee, so yes, I would absolutely want Donald Trump to be actively involved.

BADLWIN: Jeff, go ahead and tell Randy why you disagree.

KAZANOW: Well, I'm actually hoping Donald Trump was actively involved because every time he opens his mouth he energizes the democratic base.

BADLWIN: There you go.

KAZANOW: And if this is a national election, Donald Trump and the republicans are wrong on healthcare, they're wrong on tax policy, they're wrong on certainly other funds. But yes, this could be a national election, we'll be more than willing to take it that way. But this is also a local election to both jobs and the sixth district in Georgia.

BADLWIN: Can you just tell me Jeff, for all of the people watching in this country who do not live in the sixth district of Georgia, the incessant phone calls, knocks on the door, how full is your mailbox, and tell me what it's like day to day.

KAZANOW: I actually have not gotten any phone calls, though I've made a bunch of them. And the stuff in the mail from Jon and from the republicans, and I do that stuff with republicans which I find surprising. But yes, I'm really hoping that Jon take this tonight because if we have to go two more months and this (INAUDIBLE) election, that's going to get old.

BADLWIN: Randy --

EVANS: Well, Brooke, I'll tell you. I've bombarded by phone calls. It tells me -- BADLWIN: Have you?

EVANS: Yes. And by mailers, every day the mailbox is full. And what it tells me is that it's the republicans who have a ground machine, the RNC is doing a phenomenal job of making sure to motivate and mobilize every republican voter who has a propensity to vote for republican candidates.

BADLWIN: If in the end it doesn't work, just quickly last question, Randy, from Newt Gingrich's perspective, what do you think he would say if this - if this seat goes blue?

EVANS: And I talked to him on the way over. And I think he'd be very disappointed. He's actually on the way to Georgia. Now he will be here this evening and I think he's looking forward to the opportunity to endorse the republican nominee as we head toward the runoff.

BADLWIN: All right. Randy Evans, Jeff Kazanow, thank you. Polls close at 7:00 p.m. We'll be watching the numbers come in. Thank you, gentlemen.

EVNAS: Thank you.

KAZANOW: Thank you very much.

BADLWIN: Let's get to some breaking news now. A word from the Pentagon that the U.S. will conduct tests in a move involving North Korea. Details ahead.

Also, President Trump will speak at a plant in Wisconsin touting his America-first agenda. We'll take it live as soon as it happens.

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BADLWIN: We are following some breaking news here at CNN and we've learned that the Pentagon is preparing to test its ability to shoot down missiles launched out of North Korea. This announcement coming after North Korea's failed attempt to launch a missile just over this weekend. So, Barbara Starr is all over this for us. Barbara, what -- tell me about these tests. What will they involve?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Brooke, actually, these are very long-planned tests, long schedule of an ongoing program by the Pentagon to try and determine that it can shoot down incoming missiles from either North Korea or Iran. But both of these upcoming tests in May, just next month are taking place in the pacific. So, very much an effort to test U.S. missile defenses against the North Korean threat. Again, long plan but perhaps timely. One of them will take place at sea.

A ship -- a NAVY ship will test an upgraded missile with a better warhead, with a bigger booster to see if it works and this will be important because it means they can strike a North Korean missile from a longer distance away. A second test in may will test the ability to protect the U.S. Homeland. There will be a test of something called the ground-based interceptor. These are long-range missiles that the U.S. has in Alaska and California actually and they're going to test fire one of them and see if it hit -- it can hit a target at a very long-range over the Pacific Ocean simulating a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile attack.

It's the second test that maybe most critical because this is a program that has had a number of failures. Only about a 50 to 60 percent success rate. So, they want to get this program squared away and have it be much more successful to protect the U.S. Homeland than it really is right now. Long plan test against the North Korean threat but timely, nonetheless. Brooke?

BADLWIN: As you said, this happens end of next month. Barbara, thank you at the Pentagon.

Coming up next, serious questions surrounding Ivanka Trump's dinner with the Chinese President after she was awarded three new trademarks for her company in China on a very same day of that meeting. And minutes from now, we've got our eye on Wisconsin as President Trump is set to speak there, you see the sign, Buy American, Hire American. We'll take that for you live, coming up.

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BADLWIN: Ivanka Trump and her business empire is coming under scrutiny of Ethics Watchdogs because CNN is learning that Ivanka Trump's company was awarded lucrative provisional trademarks from China. And as the Associated Press first reported, they were granted on the very same day she and the first lady dined with the president of China at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. With me now, Emily Jane Fox, CNN contributor and writer for Vanity Fair and Larry Noble, CNN contributor in General Council with the Watchdog Group Campaign Legal Center, he's also a former attorney with FEC. So, good to have both of you on. Emily, you've been covering Ivanka forever. First, just -- what do we know about that day, conversations at dinner and then the trademark news?

EMILY JANE FOX, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: So, by all accounts, from her own Instagram account and full reports that we saw, it was a very lovely, friendly day with her father, the president was hosting the President of China. She has her two young children there, performing a traditional song in Mandarin to welcome the first family of China there, they all sat down for dinner together and then we learn now that her company was granted three preliminary trademarks.

Now, she had stepped down from the day-to-day operations from her -- upon this brand and she has put the assets into a trust that's controlled by her brother-in-law and sister-in-law. So she's not the one filing for these trademark requests but optically this is not a great way to suggest that there are no conflict of interests there.

BADLWIN: Larry, how do you see it with regard to conflict of interest and, you know, she can say over and over and over that she's not -- that she's divested by -- at the end of the day, she -- it is her brand, right?

LARRY NOBLE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right. It's her brand and she actually just divested. What she's done put it in a trust run by her family and she's going to get the profits and she's going to get everything back when this is all over. It does clearly create an appearance of a conflict of interest. And these aren't the only trademarks that she's gotten from China or from other countries. But when you have her sitting there at dinner and then it's announced that her company has got additional trademarks from China, you have to wonder if there's a connection. There may not be a connection but it raises suspicions.

You also have to wonder that if you're in China and you're -- have to make a decision on these trademarks, whether you're really going to want to upset the Trump family, even if she is technically separated from the company for the time being. So, you know, this is all part of, you know, what I think of as the Trump business. And in some ways, they are treating the governor as a subsidiary of the Trump businesses. So they just keep going ahead with what they were going to do before. They're ramping it up. And an interesting thing is that, her business is actually doing much better now than it had been prior to his becoming president.

BADLWIN: Huh. Really? That's interesting. And also just Larry, we keep breezing through this notion of, you know, trademarks, right? But what does that mean in terms of her business?

NOBLE: She will have the exclusive right to use the Trump name for the items that were trademarked. So, if it's pocketbooks, if it's perfume, she will be the only one to be able to use the Trump name in China. And that's why these trademarks are so important. They're worth a lot of money, especially in countries like China where there have been trademark problems and one it assumes that the Chinese government will be more eager to enforce the trademark for her.

But they've gone around the world, as all businesses do, and they trademark their brand and the Trump brand is the brand she's trademarking as he's also -- as the Trump name is a president of the United States. But it's worth a tremendous amount of money for them in these counties because it protects their interests, it protects their products when they put them for sale.

BADLWIN: And in addition to the -- to the China dinner and the trademarks there, Emily, I remember where we had talked once upon a time, it's very early on when Shinzo Abe, the prime minister of Japan had come by, right? And she had met with him in Trump, and wasn't there some sort of business interest in Japan?

FOX: There was a licensing agreement that they were working on at the time. Look, this is a business that has its roots all over the world. I believe she has applied for patents, there has patents pending -- or two trademarks pending all over the world in a number of different countries. And so, the issue is not with one specific country or one specific dinner at Mar-a-Lago. The issue for her business is going to keep popping up over and over and over again as she sits in with all of these leaders with world -- with all leadership coming to visit her father at the White House.

BADLWIN: Emily Jane Fox, Vanity Fair, thank you very much. Good to see you. And Larry Noble, thank you very much as well. NOBLE: Thank you.

BADLWIN: On all things Ivanka Trump. Speaking of her dad, though, moments from now we'll be seeing President Trump speaking there in Kenosha, Wisconsin, signing this executive order. This is happening and we'll take it live as new numbers -- new poll numbers suggest his credibility is taking a hit perhaps. Why he's gotten out of the White House and he's going to rally this crowd in Kenosha? We wll listen in. We'll be right back.

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BADLWIN: And we continue on. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me. Watching CNN and live pictures out of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Big American flag there. We're waiting to see the president of the United States touting his Buy American, Hire American policies. We'll take you there just in one second. But first, I want to pass along a new development today in the nationwide manhunt for the murder suspect who posted his killing on Facebook. It is now over.

Police say Steve Stephens killed himself in Erie, Pennsylvania, as they closed in on him. Stephens was found in the same area where authorities had initially said his phone was picked up by a cell tower. Cleveland's police chief has more on how the search ended about two hours from where the murder took place.

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CHIEF CALVIN WILLIAMS, CLEVELAND POLICE: At approximately a little after 11:00 today, Pennsylvania State Police Officers received a tip that the vehicle that we were looking for, the white Ford Fusion was in a McDonald's parking lot near Erie, P.A. Those officers responded. The vehicle fled from that area. There was a short pursuit in which the vehicle was stopped. As the officers approached that vehicle, Steve Stephens took his own life.

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BADLWIN: His victim, 74-year-old Robert Godwin, grandfather of 14. He had just finished his he's Easter meal with his family and was walking home when suddenly Stephens approached him and killed him. Godwin's daughter told CNN over the phone, she wishes the search and then the different news is what she told us. "All I can say is that I wish he had gunned down in a hail of 100 bullets." Police now tell CNN they are looking at possible connections the killing might have had in Erie, Pennsylvania and whether someone helped him avoid police. The Facebook CEO did express his condolences a short while ago adding the company will work to prevent deadly tragedies from going viral.

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MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin, Sr. And we have a lot of work and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening.

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BADLWIN: Let's move back to Wisconsin there. Live pictures of the podium where we'll be seeing the president momentarily. This is a blue state that remember, this is the blue wall, it turned red during the he's talking about American manufacturing while cracking down on employers who try to use cheap foreign labor.