Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Slams 100-Day Milestone; Trump Looks for Big Wins; Paris Shooting Investigation; U.S. To Charge WikiLeaks Founder; Tennessee Teacher Faces Judge. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired April 21, 2017 - 09:30   ET

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


[09:30:00] CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Look, type in "Gettysburg speech Donald Trump" into the Internet. You will find the speech in October in which Donald Trump says that the election coming up the following month, November 2016, is a referendum on whether people want his hundred day action plan to be put into place or not. I mean - and it's not only that. Look, Donald Trump has been focused on talking about the importance of 100 days for all 91 of the days before today that he's been president of the United States. The reason why it doesn't matter now and it's ridiculous and it's a media-created standard is because he's up against it.

There are eight days left. I - for all the happy talk on a new health care bill, I think that's very hard to do. I think demanding $1.4 billion for funding the wall in - to make the government stay open is going to make it harder to keep the government open. Tax reform's obviously not going to happen in the next eight days. So, aside from Neil Gorsuch, and he deserves credit for the nomination and confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, there are not a lot of accomplishments in those first 100 days and that's why Donald Trump is now saying they don't matter.

HARLOW: Look, and Errol, he's up against - if you're - if you're going to compare him, he is blaming the media, but it was FDR and we have not seen a New Deal-like accomplishments yet for this president. Do you think this is an indication that he doesn't think that health care is going to get done?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I -

HARLOW: I mean the White House is sending out all these signals that they've got this deal. It's great. But now he's saying, don't hold me to this 100 days.

LOUIS: Yes, reality is going to set in, as it often does. Donald Trump has a history in his commercial transactions, in his political life of making all kinds of promises and then, as the deadline approaches, you start to realize that he saw that as a negotiation and not as a promise and that all of the terms of the promise are now going to be renegotiated or sort of downplayed or shaded or nuanced.

Keep in mind, you know, the FDR 100 days was a national emergency by any description. FDR - it - there was such a need for urgency, he swore in his entire cabinet at once. He didn't do them individually. He really got to work. He got 13 major pieces of legislation passed because the country was with him. That was what he ran out.

Now, Donald Trump didn't have to hype this up as a comparable emergency. He didn't have to say he was going to do these things within 100 days. He could - he could even have put in some constitutional modesty into the whole bargain and say, I'm going to talk to Congress and negotiate with them and try and get these things done, which is actually how it works. But now we're in - we're discovering, as is so often the case with Donald Trump, what was a promise was actually just the start of a bargaining process.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He's said he. He's moving the finish line. That's pretty much all there is to it.

Jackie, on the health care push and whether or not there's a new breakthrough here -

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

BERMAN: You very eloquently stated that this reminds you of "Weekend at Bernie's."

KUCINICH: It does.

BERMAN: Please explain - pretty please explain why.

KUCINICH: Well, just because you put sunglasses on it and a Hawaiian shirt and walk - and reanimate it doesn't make it alive. And I haven't seen anything that would make me think that this bill is alive, other than the talk from the White House. And maybe, yes, maybe they are talking in Congress. Maybe the Tuesday Group and Mark Meadows' group are getting together.

That said, as we saw this last time, once the details are in legislative form, it becomes a whole different ball game. They haven't whipped this. Leadership hasn't talked to members to figure out who's going to vote for it. And the fact that they're trying to include this, I mean when you talk about the government shutdown, Congress really, this Congress in particular, can really do only one big thing at a time. And funding the government looks like it's going to be a much more complicated process than they - than the leadership even though with the new push to have this border funding money in there. Democrats in the Senate are saying that's a nonstarter. They were saying that in March. So this is getting more complicated, not less. And that's going to make for a heck of a week next week, I'll tell you guys.

HARLOW: And not just - not just Democrats, Jackie. We just had a Republican from the Tuesday Group on who basically said in so many words, I don't know we shut the government down in the fall.

BERMAN: Well, you know.

KUCINICH: Right.

HARLOW: Hey, Chris Cillizza, am I - am I dreaming or are we talking about shutting down the government over a wall that Mexico was going to pay for?

CILLIZZA: Right. So, I mean, during the - you're not dreaming, Poppy.

HARLOW: OK.

CILLIZZA: I just - yes, OK, let's get that out of the way. I want to address your direct question.

During the campaign, Donald Trump would always say we're going to build a wall and who's going to pay for it. And, of course, the crowd would say, Mexico. And anyone who knows anything about how government works and countries work knows that we can't make Mexico, a foreign government that has its own president, we can't make them pay for walls. So the theory was, well, if Donald Trump's going to do this, he's going to have to get the funding from Congress.

Look, I continue to return to this idea of - think back three or four years ago when Republicans, including Tea Party Republicans, were wanting pay fors, wanting ways to pay for, even allocating money for disaster relief, right? There's a hurricane. There's a flood. The federal government steps in and there were some within the Republican conference saying, we can't just give out money. We have to - where's this money coming from?

[09:35:22] The idea that we're just going to take $1.4 billion to a wall that, trust us, wink, wink, Donald Trump will figure out a way to get Mexico to pay for shows you - and I think it's important to note this, how far Donald Trump has moved the Republican Party from the orthodoxy that it was governed by for the entirety of the Obama presidency.

KUCINICH: If I could just add, one of those Republicans that Chris is talking about was Mick Mulvaney, who's the current budget director. So he - that individual - and he knows how this works and yet he's still pushing for this.

BERMAN: Things change. Times change and jobs change I think is the answer to that, Jackie.

You know, one poll here, Errol, that we found interesting on the subject of health care from Quinnipiac.

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: Only 36 percent of American voters say Republicans in Congress should now try again to repeal and replace Obamacare. Sixty percent say the Republicans should move on. Now, Poppy knows that the number among Republicans who want them to try again is actually 77 percent. A lot of Republicans want it to happen. But, overall, it doesn't look like a poll winner. So why risk it? Why spend this much capital now?

HARLOW: Why rush?

LOUIS: Yes. This is - this is beltway logic and it's really at odds with American citizen logic. The reality of what they can't seem to grasp down there is that the uncertainty itself is a problem for American families. They're trying to budget when to, you know, get braces for their kids, how much to put into the health saving account, how to budget really important things that matter to them deeply. And to hear them just sort of, you know, kick it around like a political football where even a member of Congress doesn't know what's coming down the pipe, oh, we're going to chat about it this weekend, oh, we're going to try and make some arbitrary political deadline to make the president look good.

HARLOW: It's such an important point. I was speaking to a friend this week whose significant other doesn't have health insurance because Obamacare was too expensive and is facing over $100,000 in medical bills. I mean so, you know, for folks that love Obamacare or hate Obamacare or wherever you fall, this is the reality of what they're in.

LOUIS: That's right. And if they would simply stop playing with it, those poll numbers would turn around. You know, good, bad or indifferent.

BERMAN: Chris Cillizza, save it for next time. There will be a next time, maybe even soon.

CILLIZZA: I'll put it in my pocket.

BERMAN: Chris, Jackie, Errol, great to have you.

Put a pin in it.

HARLOW: Thank you, guys.

BERMAN: Which is always one more annoying thing you can say than put it in your pocket.

Thanks, Chris.

HARLOW: All right, later this morning, we are going to hear from two members of President Trump's cabinet. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will speak one-on-one with Kate Bolduan right here at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

BERMAN: All right, new developments in the shooting in Paris. ISIS is claiming responsibility and now this attack is re-shaping the presidential election there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:42:00] HARLOW: So this morning we're learning more about the man who opened fire on police in Paris on the Champs-Elysees. A source telling CNN he was recently being investigated by counterterrorism authorities because of other threats that he'd made against law enforcement.

BERMAN: Now, ISIS has claimed responsibility for this attack. It did leave one officer dead, two others critically injured. ISIS says the gunman was one of its fighters. And this shooting comes just days before the first round of voting in the French presidential election. It has been very close there and this is already affecting that election.

Joining us now live from Paris with more, CNN's Hala Gorani.

Hala, first, new details on the investigation.

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed, John. Authorities have released the name, Karim Cheurfi. This is the man who they say opened fire on police officers, killing one. H was then gunned down himself by police officers here on the Champs-Elysees, not far from where we're standing right now.

What we know about the attack, it's pretty typical of some of the profiles of previous sort of terrorist attacks in the past. The perpetrators, a criminal background. In fact, he was convicted and jailed for trying to kill police officers long before ISIS was a terrorist group in 2001. And you mentioned that ISIS, they took responsibility, and that's a bit of a head scratcher because they mentioned a name in their claim, Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, but this is not - this is not the name of the person that authorities here say committed this attack on the Champs Elysees. So either there's someone else at large or they got the name wrong. But certainly this is a detail that needs to be cleared up.

John.

HARLOW: Well, in terms - in terms of how it affects the election, I mean you have Marine Le Pen, the far right candidate, coming out and saying as, you know, in the wake of this, that anyone that's even on the watch list should be removed from France immediately, their nationality taken away, that the - what she's taking Islam mosques must be closed. What is the impact going to be on the first round of the election this weekend?

GORANI: It's anyone's guess. No one is really leading in the polls because everyone is within the margin of error. It's truly anyone's guess who will come out on top on Sunday. You mentioned Marine Le Pen. She's the far right candidate. The one perhaps most likely to benefit from this attack in terms of how she could exploit it politically. This is what she had to say just a few hours ago, the day after this attack on the Champs Elysees. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARINE LE PEN, FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (through translator): Islam's ideology must not have the right to remain in France. Salifis (ph) organizations like the branches of the Muslim Brotherhood must be banned. I demand that an investigation be opened with the objective of dissolving associated and cultural organizations that promote or finance fundamentalist ideologies. The hate preachers must be expelled. The Islam mosques must be closed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Islamic mosques, not mosques obviously. This would be completely unworkable, and, in fact, against the law, but Islamic mosques where radicalization takes place. Marine Le Pen is suggesting closing those. Other candidates are saying the centrist, for instance, who is also doing well in the rolls, Emmanuel Macron, saying that 10,000 extra police officers should be deployed. Francois Fillon, who's the center of right candidate, is saying we should work with Russia in order to combat ISIS in Syria. There's a whole sort of host of possible suggests and proposals by the candidates. But what is for sure is that Sunday is the first round of a presidential election that will have an impact, not just in France, but in all of Europe because some of the candidates are suggesting that France should exit the E.U. for instance. So it's a very, very crucial political event.

[09:45:42] Back to you.

BERMAN: And the world's watching this election. And as you say, Hala, just a few points separates four major candidates there. Appreciate it.

This morning, the Justice Department is preparing charges against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.

HARLOW: After a seven year investigation, authorities believe that they have found what they think is hard enough evidence that Assange helped - actually helped Edward Snowden disclose that trove of classified documents. Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying the prosecution, a major priority.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks. This is a matter that's gone beyond anything I'm aware of. We have professionals that have been in the security business of the United States for many years that are shocked by the number of leaks and some of them are quite serious. So, yes, it is a priority. We've already begun to step up our efforts. And whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: CNN crime and justice producer Shimon Prokupecz is with us for more.

You know, it's interesting, Shimon, because Eric Holder, his predecessor, the former attorney general, believed that there just wasn't enough there there because other newspapers had published these documents, that perhaps Assange had some sort of First Amendment protection. Why are things looking different now?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Well, for one thing, Poppy, you know, as you know, this probe has been going on since 2010 when Assange first gained attention for obtaining the thousands of documents from former U.S. military analyst known as Chelsea Manning. We're told by U.S. officials that since then, since 2010, that the FBI and career prosecutor at the Justice Department have wanted to bring charges but were ultimately stopped out of concern that Assange and WikiLeaks was protected by the First Amendment. The effort to bring charges was again discussed, as you mentioned, after investigators found evidence to suggest that WikiLeaks played a role in the disclosure of the other thousands of documents by Edward Snowden. It's believed that WikiLeaks may have helped Snowden escape the U.S. and, you know, where he eventually wound up in Russia, Poppy.

BERMAN: All right, Shimon Prokupecz for us on this development. Thank you so much, Shimon.

All right, I'm glad it's over. Those are the words of a Tennessee teacher accused of kidnapping a 15-year-old girl and fleeing with her across the country. How police found him and what her family is saying this morning. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:52:47] HARLOW: A Tennessee teacher who became the subject of a nationwide manhunt after police say that he kidnapped a female student, well, he's going to face a judge today.

BERMAN: Yes, 50-year-old Tad Cummins and a 15-year-old student were found in a remote cabin deep in the mountains of northern California. Neighbors who recognized Cummins called police and helped hatch a plan to try to lure him outside. That is where he was arrested. Now, Cummins later told police, "I'm glad this is over."

CNN's Dianne Gallagher is following this story for us. She joins us live from Columbia, Tennessee.

Dianne, what are you learning?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, John, Poppy, there were more than 1,500 tips that came in through that month and a week that the 15-year-old girl and this teacher here, Tad Cummins, had been missing. But it was just one eagle-eyed grounds keeper who happened to notice that something just didn't seem right at that cabin in California between the man and the woman that he claimed was his 22-year-old new bride.

It turns out, of course, that he was correct. And some smart thinking between he and the property owner. They contacted the authorities. They sort of developed this plan to where they had the sheriff surround that cabin as to not tip off Cummins at all that they had spotted him. They matched the VIN number on the vehicle because the license plate had been removed. And then he sort of pulled him out of the house by asking him to help build a rock wall outside. Once Cummins came out,, they said that he gave himself up to authorities. He did not protest whatsoever.

But it has been a bit more of a rocky ride for that 15-year-old. Her father spoke this morning about just the difficulties that do lie ahead for her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Do you think she was brainwashed?

FATHER: Yes. There's going to be some therapy involved. It's going to take some time. And we - because we love her so much, we're, you know, we're going to be patient with her and we've got to be - we've just got to get her the help she needs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[09:54:56] GALLAGHER: And so Cummins will actually be arraigned this afternoon, about 1:00 Eastern Time. They're going to attempt to extradite him back here to Tennessee at that point. As far as this 15- year-old victim goes, she's going to be brought back on a plane with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigators. She's going to spend, we're told by the family attorney, the next couple days in seclusion with her family, trying to sort of just heal with them. She has a long road ahead of her. As her father mentioned there, they've got to determine what she's going to do about school, when she can get reintegrated into the community and just to sort of help her get back with her family.

Poppy.

HARLOW: Of course. Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much for that reporting. Good that she's back with her family now.

All right, President Trump predicting two big wins, repealing Obamacare and tax reform. But when?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:59:56] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

HARLOW: Good morning. We are following breaking news this morning. For the fourth time in four days, Russian aircraft bombers are flying in Alaskan airspace. The bombers entered the Alaskan Air Defense Zone about 700 nautical miles southwest of Anchorage. They proceeded then to fly