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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
White House Says 100 Days "Artificial Number"; Mixed Messages on Funding for the Wall; Trump: I'm Not Sure Kim Jong Un is As Strong As He Says; North Korea Detains American, Threatens to Sink U.S. Warship; Record Low Approval Rating, Base Stays Strong; Senate Committee Under Pressure Over Russia Probe. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 24, 2017 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:03] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening. Thanks for joining us.
We begin tonight, "Keeping Them Honest", with the White House and the president pushing back on the importance of his upcoming 100th day in office. Saturday is the 100th day. Friday is the deadline for Congress to pass a funding bill to avoid a government shutdown. For several days now, President Trump has been trying to downplay the significance of his 100th day in office, calling it a ridiculous standard in a recent tweet.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about the 100-day benchmark today. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think we feel very proud of what we've been able to accomplish and fulfill the promises that he's made to the American people, but I think it's got to be kept in context. And I think that's sort of this artificial number that gets thrown out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: An artificial number that gets thrown out. But for the record, let's just remember who did some of the throwing. As a candidate in October, Mr. Trump released his contract with the American voter, a 100-day action to make America great again, and he talked about it a lot on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our country.
Earlier today, I outlined my contract with the American voter, the steps I will take my first 100 days in office.
It's a set of promises for what I'll do in my first 100 days. Just think about what we can accomplish in the first 100 days of a
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
COOPER: Well, when asked about that in an interview with the "A.P." over the weekend, President Trump seemed to suggest he had nothing to do with that whole 100-day plan, saying, quote, "Somebody, yeah, somebody put out the concept of 100-day plan."
Somebody may have come up with the idea and written it, but it was candidate Trump who unveiled and promoted it, as you just saw. When Spicer was pushed on it, he essentially said the only reason the White House talking about the 100 days is because the media keeps asking about it and then he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: I also think that we are very proud and the president is very proud of what he's been able to accomplish in the first 100 days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, it's a ridiculous standard, an artificial number. But the president is also very proud of what he's accomplished in the first 100 days. And, in fact, he's repeatedly claimed he has had the most successful 90 days of any president in history.
Keeping him honest, what has the president actually accomplished with that 100-day action plan or from that 100-day action plan? Not a lot. Not a lot that was on that list.
And there are new developments on one of the central promises that Donald Trump campaigned on, building a wall and making Mexico pay for it, which is complicating the negotiations that could shut down the government. In the president's latest tweet on the subject, the simplicity of Mexico paying for the wall has now morphed into this sentence, "Eventually, but at a later date, so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying in some form for the badly needed border wall."
The president's top aides are sending mixed signals about how far he will go to get funding for his wall, whether the government would actually shut down over it. Listen to what Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The president has been pretty straightforward about his desire and the need for a border wall. So, I would suspect he'll do the right thing for sure, but I will suspect he will be insistent on the funding.
REINCE PRIEBUS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think as long as the president's priorities are adequately reflected in the CR, and allows to get full -- moving with an increased in military spending and the rebuilding of our military, as he promised in one of your bullet points, and there's enough as far as flexibility for the border wall and border security, I think we'll be OK with that. But we're still negotiating this weekend with appropriators in the House and the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, we are now learning there is potentially a new timeline for funding the wall laid out tonight by the president himself.
Senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta joins us now with that.
So, what are you learning, Jim?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, some cracks perhaps in the president's demand for wall funding in this round of negotiations to keep the government open at the end of this week. We're hearing from a White House official who is saying the president is not going to insist, not going to insist at this point that there be funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a spending bill to keep the government open and not shut down at the end of this week.
This official said the president would be open to some kind of border security funding in this bill that might involve more Border Patrol agents, perhaps more monitoring along the U.S.-Mexico border. That might take the place of border wall funding in this piece of legislation, and that border wall negotiations could resume later on this fall. That appears to be where the White House stands on this sticking point.
And that's going to come as a big relief to Republicans up on Capitol Hill who getting very nervous that the White House was going to take this to a brink over a big campaign promise for the president.
TRUMP: Welcome to the White House.
ACOSTA (voice-over): It just might be the biggest barrier standing in the way of a deal to prevent a looming government shutdown. President Trump's quest for funding to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The president is ramping up the pressure, tweeting, "The wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs for pouring into our country and poisoning our youth, and many others.
[20:05:04] If the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will never be fixed the way it should be."
White House officials are also pushing Congress to make sure wall money is included in any bill that keep the government running.
JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We need that wall. It will help us complete the promise the president has made to the American people. That's what they want. The American people have a right to expect it, and I believe Congress will eventually deliver.
ACOSTA: But that flies in the face of what is perhaps the president's biggest campaign promise, that Mexico would pay for the wall.
TRUMP: We're going to build that wall. Don't even think about it. And who is going to pay for the wall?
SPICER: We feel very confident the government is not going to shut down.
ACOSTA: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insists the president isn't going back on his word.
(on camera): On the wall, why is there even discussion about shutting down the government over paying for the wall? Isn't Mexico supposed to pay for the wall?
SPICER: Well, I think, Jim, the president has made very clear that, initially, we needed to get the funding going and there's to be several mechanisms to make sure that that happens. That funding piece will happen in due time.
ACOSTA (voice-over): In his campaign's contract with American voters, the president vowed to introduce a bill in his first 100 days in office that would force Mexico to ultimately pay for the wall, one of several promises he hasn't kept.
Now, the White House is releasing its own 100 days highlights. The military strike on Syria, the administration's still frozen travel ban, his Supreme Court pick, and efforts to help women and minorities, nearly all stemming from executive actions.
The White House is looking to make a big splash on Wednesday when the president is expected to outline his tax reform plan, including a massive cut on the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent. Though the administration is not insisting that any of it be paid for.
STEVEN MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: The tax plan will pay for itself with economic growth.
COOPER: Jim, how does the White House reconcile the president's criticism of the 100-day benchmark with their own of it to highlight their accomplishments?
ACOSTA: That's very good question, Anderson, and I think at this point, you heard White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer say earlier today to reporters, that they're now focused on the next 100 days. I think that's an acknowledgment that, yes, that list that the president put out as a candidate last October, talking about ten different items that he planned to get past or at least introduced to Congress in the first 100 days, that those things are just not going to happen.
That's why you have seen the president resort to using executive powers, executive orders to do some of the things he's wanted to do since coming into office. But keep in mind, just the tax reform proposal that they floated out today, this idea that they're going to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent from U.S. companies, that is already going over like a lead balloon up on Capitol Hill. I talked to a top Republican congressional source earlier today who said that this has to be revenue neutral, and that, as you heard from the treasury secretary in the briefing room earlier today is not something they're proposing.
And so, this is -- this is where the president is running into trouble trying to deliver on these campaign promises. He's not taking into consideration the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. And it appears at this point, Anderson, it's a lesson he hasn't learned yet.
COOPER: All right. Jim Acosta, thanks.
Joining me now on the panel tonight, Ryan Lizza, April Ryan, Jeffrey Lord and Charles Blow.
Charles, I want to read something you said in a recent comment about the president's supporters. You said, "He oversold what he could deliver because he had no idea what it would require to deliver it nor did he care. He told you what you wanted to hear so he could get what he wanted to have. He played you for fools."
Tough words. I mean, his supporters don't see it that way in recent polls, which we're going to talk about more. They're standing by him overwhelmingly.
CHARLES BLOW, THE NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED COLUMNIST: I mean, first of all, I think you can never underestimate the impulse for people not to take the blame for doing something that -- and make a mistake, basically. So, to say that you voted for this guy and he is the wrong guy, you made a mistake, means that the alternative would have been Hillary. You definitely didn't want to support her, and they have to take the blame for what's happening here.
What we have to say, I mean, I think we just have to agree that this man is a horrible dealmaker. A horrible dealmaker.
He can't keep -- in the private sector, when there's the profit motive, that's a different kind of deal. In the public sector, when the motive is to protect human beings, the general welfare, that's a different motivation.
Many times, those people have nothing to give back to you. They can't pay you back for it. Many times, your constituents are not even people who voted for you, don't even like you. You still have to take care of them.
That's a different motivating factor. He doesn't understand that. He doesn't -- he's not operating that way. He's operating from a deal -- kind of profit-driven deal making factor and it's not working.
COOPER: It is interesting, Jeff. I mean, in the "A.P." interview, he did say it's a lot more difficult than he anticipated. I mean, he had said that previously about health care, but he's talking about the entire presidency.
JEFFREY LORD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Lots of presidents say that. I mean, there is a difference in fairness whether your name is Obama or Reagan --
[20:10:04] COOPER: But there were a lot of people on the campaign trail, fellow Republicans, who said -- who said that very thing like --
COOPER: -- you know, business deals completely different than making a deal in government, and they basically said, you don't know what you're talking about.
LORD: Charles, I do think he's a good deal maker. Presidencies are judged on their end game, not on the first 100 days.
I'm looking at a story from a paper called "The New York Times" which talks about the president was so concerned he didn't have so much accomplished that he put out a pamphlet called "A Season of America's Renewal". That president was Bill Clinton and he was being criticized for not getting anything done on the 100 days.
Today, Democrats look fondly back on Bill Clinton as a really can-do president. So, I would --
TRUMP: Can the president have it both ways? I mean, running on what he's going to do in the first 100 days, making a big deal of this hundred days and now saying, oh, no, no, the whole thing is ridiculous and somebody else put that thing out there?
LORD: Anderson, I've been around the block. They're going to take it on the chin here. They've got lots and lots of examples of what they feel they have accomplished.
One genuine accomplishment other than the Supreme Court that I think they have and there are many more, but we just saw on the show here. Jeff Sessions is sitting in the Justice Department and not Loretta Lynch. That's a big deal. That is a big accomplishment if you are a conservative.
COOPER: April, can Sean Spicer have it both ways?
APRIL RYAN, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORK: First of all, that was from -- hi, that was from another administration, another party, so that wasn't going to happen. So, we have to knock that one down. I'm sorry, Jeffrey. But Sean can't have it both ways. The White House wants to present
this winning picture. It is all about the win, going into these hundred days that this president will celebrate on Saturday, the night of the White House Correspondents Association dinner.
But Sean wants to say we have accomplished this, we have accomplished that. Yes, you've written signed executive orders, 25 or so. You've done other things, signed other bills. But when it comes to dealing with Congress and dealing with your own party, there within is a problem.
For them to campaign on -- for this party, for this president to campaign on repeal and replace and not to do it on the seventh anniversary of that, that was a huge failure for him. For this issue with the travel ban, which was in many instances and the courts really sided with the fact it was a Muslim ban, that was a loss. The winning picture is what they want to craft, but the reality is something different.
COOPER: I mean, Ryan, obviously this is not the way they wanted their 100 days. I mean, as much as the president had said this is the greatest 100 days, or 90 days of any president in history, clearly legislatively other than Gorsuch, they have nothing to show.
RYAN LIZZA, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORKER: Very inconsequential when you think legislatively. And two points, one on Jeffrey's point about the first year of the Clinton era, I don't think that's an analogy you want to make, because think of what happened there. Clinton had a terrible 100 days. His health care bill went down in flames, somehow how Trump is.
He lost Congress in the midterms. He moved way to the right and signed Republican legislation to get re-elected in 1996. So, by the model, you'll have a Democratic Congress next year and you'll have Trump signing Democratic legislation in 2018.
COOPER: All right. Before your response to that, we have to take a quick break. We're going to continue the conversation.
I also want to get the panels' thoughts on the president's claim that he, quote, "still beat Hillary Clinton in the popular vote." He actually said Hillary in the popular vote. We should point out, the popular vote, he actually -- anyway, you know he didn't actually beat Hillary Clinton.
Anyway, what President Trump said tonight also about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and that country now has several U.S. citizens in custody.
We'll be right back.
[20:16:3] COOPER: As we approach President Trump's 100th day and a potential government looms, his approval ratings are at historical lows. According to a new poll, the president's support among those who voted for him remained strong.
Here is how the president responded to the new poll in tweets, "New polls out today are very good considering that much of the media is fake and almost always negative. Would still beat Hillary in popular vote. ABC News, Washington Post poll wrong on big election, said almost all stand by their vote on me and 53 percent said strong leader."
We're going to take a closer look at what that poll actually said later this hour. But right now, let's just focus on the president's claim that he would, quote, "still beat Hillary" in the popular vote.
"Keeping Them Honest" and I don't know that I need to stay this, he did not beat Hillary Clinton in the popular vote. She beat him by almost 2.9 million votes.
Now, this might seem like a minor point, sour grapes from Democrats, old news, not even worth mentioning, but let's just think for a moment how unusual it should be for a president of the United States to cavalierly and repeatedly say things that are simply not true. It isn't something we should be desensitized to. He didn't win the popular vote.
And for the record, there is no evidence of millions of illegal votes by illegal immigrants, another claim he made and never prove. President Obama did not wiretap Trump Tower, as he tweeted. President Trump's inaugural crowd was not the biggest. It doesn't even matter, but it wasn't.
And no, his electoral victory was not the largest since President Reagan. In fact, he ranks near the bottom.
I should point out, he won. Election polls said he wouldn't. It was an historic win. He doesn't need to make fake facts.
Back now with the panel.
April, I mean, as somebody who's covered a lot of White Houses, does it -- do you get desensitized to hearing, you know, these kind of claims over and over again? Because at a certain point, as a reporter, it's almost like you have to pick and choose which ones you respond to or ask about.
RYAN: Your ears perk up really. I mean, when you hear something that doesn't sound quite right, you write what he says, or you report what he says, but you also have to dig deeper to make sure you have the truth there.
We've had to do a lot of fact-checking with this administration. It's almost a daily issue, be it the president, be it the press secretary, or be it some people within the administration, some principles. But your ears perk up.
I mean, if you've been there, there's a thing called institutional knowledge. And, thankfully, I've been there 20 years to know the lay of the land. So, when they say something, my ears perk up. But at the same time, there are people who are out there watching who can see what's the truth and what's not the truth.
And those who want to support him, his (INAUDIBLE), this president's (INAUDIBLE), they'll support him, but understanding they know what the real truth is.
COOPER: Ryan, it seems like there's a lot of folks who support the president who don't believe that he's saying something that's not true.
LIZZA: Yes. The depressing thing is these lies get told and repeated. You start to poll people on it and they start to believe these things.
COOPER: Right, it's almost like a marketing thing where the more he repeats it, which he did in business a lot, you start to thin, oh, well, he can't be saying something that's not true. But --
LIZZA: And most previous presidents with public statements that we considered false or were more legalistic or a maybe a little bit more sophisticated. This is like a blunt Orwellian lie, like he won the popular vote. That's just, you know, an alternate reality.
And I agree with becoming desensitized. I can't even say it.
[20:20:02] LORD: Easy for you to say.
LIZZA: When you cover this stuff day in and day out, eventually, you're just like, oh, another crazy tweet that is misstating the facts.
RYAN: We're still within 100 days, so we're still new and fresh.
COOPER: Does it matter that the president says stuff repeatedly, which is not true?
LORD: If that were the case, I mean, it's not up there with, you know, "I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky," which got him impeached.
LIZZA: It was a legalistic lie.
COOPER: Does it -- I'm asking you does it matter?
LORD: Sure, over time if people perceive that.
COOPER: What do you mean people perceive it? Does it matter that the president repeatedly says stuff that's not true?
LORD: Anderson, if people perceive that that's not the case, and leave me give you a good example --
COOPER: What does that mean? That is not true, or that it's not the case -- I don't understand what you're saying.
LORD: I'm trying to say it. Right on the screen there says the quote was that he would still beat Hillary in the popular vote, quote/unquote. The way I read that in context was that he was saying with all the negativity in the polls, he could still beat her in the popular vote in spite of those. And in fact --
COOPER: But he --
LORD: No, no. Today I believe there are polls that show he would beat her in the polls, beat her in the popular --
RYAN: What polls? What polls? What polls?
COOPER: So, you're saying he wasn't claiming he beat her in the popular vote?
LORD: I did not read it that way, honestly.
COOPER: OK. What about there are millions of illegal immigrants who voted for Hillary Clinton?
LORD: I don't know how many, but you and I have certainly had this conversation, and there are plenty of experts out there that say --
COOPER: There's actually not plenty and the ones that are quoted are being misquoted.
RYAN: But, Anderson, this goes exactly to the point of what I said.
LORD: Not so.
RYAN: There's people who understand what he's saying and know what he's doing in doing and shading the facts and trying to support the falsehood. You know clear well that this president won the Electoral College, not by the popular vote. With his numbers, the poll numbers today, he probably would not win again. He has the worst --
LORD: That's not true. That's not true.
RYAN: He has the worst approval rating in history, I mean, right now within the first is100.
LORD: Head to head with Hillary Clinton.
RYAN: It's not Hillary Clinton.
LORD: Well, you said if the election were held today.
COOPER: Well, he still does have -- I mean, among, again, among his supporters who voted for him, he has -- he's holding them. He's holding his base. So, I mean, it's an arguable point, but I mean, yes, OK, I guess you can interpret that quote, but there's plenty of things he says repeatedly. You agree the truth matters, don't you? LORD: Sure. Like if you like your doctor, you can keep --
COOPER: I knew you were going to use that example.
LORD: Of course --
COOPER: It matters. If President Obama knew that was the truth, that's a lie then.
LORD: It was a pretty big one.
BLOW: This is how you don't become desensitized to this issue. You have to just accept and absorb this fact. Our president is a pathological liar. He is lying for sport.
And people like Jeffrey who come on television and make excuses for those lies -- one second. I let you talk -- and pretend that it's not a lie in our faces, look into that camera and pretend that's not a lie, do a disservice to the truth.
Jeffrey, you are wrong for this. You should not be doing what you are doing. When you looked in that camera and said I read this differently --
LORD: I do.
BLOW: No, you don't. I do not believe you anymore than I believe him.
LORD: What if we actually do?
BLOW: I'm telling you that I do not believe you did not read the way that everybody else read it.
LORD: I did not. I did not.
BLOW: That he wasn't lying, but I believe you are not being honest right now and that man is not being honest ever.
LORD: So, am I say that you're not being honest?
BLOW: You can say what you want to say, but I'm telling it's the truth.
LORD: Right, that's how I feel.
BLOW: About what you just said, that I believe you were not being honest. I do not believe this man is almost ever being honest. He's a pathological liar. And once we accept that fact, we can put the rest of what's happening in context.
We keep trying to search for him to tell the truth. We want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he didn't mean that. Maybe -- no, actually he's just doing this on purpose for sport.
COOPER: We're going to have to leave you there.
COOPER: Thank you, everybody, on the panel.
More saber-rattling from Kim Jong-un. The question is, will North Korea conduct a sixth nuclear test tonight despite the warnings it's been given?
Plus, the latest on the American who is detained after trying to leave Pyongyang.
[20:28:15] COOPER: Breaking news tonight. A short time ago, President Trump met with a group of conservative news media members and told them he's not sure that North Korea's Kim Jong-un, quote, "is so strong like he says he is. I'm not so sure at all."
This comes as the world waits to see if Kim Jong-un defies the warning he's been given not to conduct a sixth nuclear weapons test. North Korea often marks state holidays with a show of force. Today is the 85th anniversary of the Korean people's army.
On top of that, tensions with the U.S. are the highest we've seen in a long time. Earlier today, President Trump called on the U.N. Security Council to impose new sanctions on the rogue country, calling the status quo unacceptable. The White House also confirmed that all 100 U.S. senators are scheduled to attend a briefing on North Korea this week.
Meantime, another U.S. citizen has been detained while trying to leave North Korea. North Korea threatened to sink a U.S. warship.
With all of that, Will Ripley joins us now from Pyongyang with the latest.
So, Will, what are the latest indications if there are in terms of how or when North Korea might take some sort of provocative action?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we could see a missile launch at anytime, Anderson. We know that they can roll out the solid fuel missiles and launch them without much notice, so watch for that possibility. If there's going to be a sixth nuclear test, it will probably happen within the next hour or so. North Korea also conducts those tests in the morning hours, local time. Indications are that the site has been primed and ready at Punggye-ri for a test for quite sometime now, although the most recent pictures show people apparently playing volleyball there as an attempt to deceive the world and not let them know what's really happening. We just don't know.
COOPER: There is word of this American citizen who was just detained in North Korea. What do we know about him? RIPLEY: His name is Tony Kim. He was a visiting professor here for
several weeks on an assignment at a university that often has foreign visiting professors, including Americans. He was at the Pyongyang airport over the weekend, when he was pulled aside as he was about to board his flight, taken to an unknown location. And right now, North Korea is keeping quiet.
We don't know what charges he's facing, we don't know his status and we may not know for quite sometime but he does join at least two other Americans who are being held here right now, that University of Virginia student, Otto Warmbier, who's serving 15 years hard labor for taking a sign off of the wall in his hotel. And also another American Kim Dong Chul accused of spying, serving a 10-year sentence. This is why the State Department, Anderson, warns Americans to really, you know, think twice before coming to North Korea because given the situation, the tensions right now, they could be taken into custody.
COOPER: Yes, and especially dangerous time to be there. Will Ripley, appreciate you being there. Thank you.
Joining me now is CNN national security analyst and retired Air Force General Michael Hayden and Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS".
First of all, General Hayden, I mean when you hear that President Trump is now saying he doesn't believe Kim Jong-un is as strong as he claims to be, is it possible that he's trying to call North Korea's bluff? Is it possible that he's right that Kim Jong-un has some inherent weakness?
GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, no. He does have inherent weaknesses, so I think the president's right. He's not as strong as he claims to be. He is however as dangerous as we fear he is. And he's pretty much acting on script right now, Anderson. We knew the North Koreans would provoke the new administration. And so I would not be surprised that the report of their will is correct, a missile launch or a nuclear test in the very near future by the North Koreans.
What's not on script is the American response. And here I think President Trump and the administration has decided that within our current definition of acceptable risk, that North Koreans would inevitably be able to get to the northwest part of the United States with a ballistic missile and a nuclear weapon. So we are now actively demonstrating that we are recalibrating our definition of acceptable risk. The audience there is not the North Koreans, the audience there is the Chinese.
COOPER: And, Fareed, I mean that brings us to the next obvious question, which -- I mean the Trump administration has pointed to some movement by China that they feel has been constructive. Obviously, there's more China could do that the administration would like.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: Yes. I mean the key here to understand is that we don't -- the United States does not have that much -- those many sticks it can use against North Korea. A military strike is extremely difficult because the north would retaliate against South Korea, which is, you know, Seoul, the capital of South Korea, with most of its population is within 35 miles of the North Korean border. So, you would ignite -- you essentially ignite the second Korean War. And clearly, this is a regime that we'll be willing to do it.
The United States also doesn't have much economic leverage. We don't trade with them. So China is the key. China provides 90 percent of the energy, 50 percent of the fuel that North Korea survives on.
So what the Trump administration has to do is to say to the Chinese, this is really, really important to us. And here's what, you know, we would like you to do, really push hard.
I think there are some conversations about essentially a kind of decapitation of the North Korean regime. Not a regime change, but the idea would be change the leader. I don't know if that would work, but that's one possibility. But certainly, enormous Chinese pressure.
I would argue that if the Trump administration wants to think this through seriously, it has to think about what it can give China in return. Because what the Chinese worry about is, you know, what if the regime collapses, what if the Koreas unify? Then what they face is the Chinese nightmare, a unified Korea on their border with 30,000 American troops, treaty, I guarantee with the United States and eight nuclear bombs.
COOPER: Right. It changes the balance of power in the region.
ZAKARIA: Right. And so imagine if you -- the United States had to deal with the Mexico, that was allied to China, had nuclear weapons and had Chinese troops within it. So the United States, I think, would have to have a conversation with China about what would happen in the eventuality of a unified North Korea.
COOPER: General --
ZAKARIA: Maybe that means no American troops.
COOPER: General Hayden, just in -- militarily, I mean, beyond just the capabilities that North Korea has for a nuclear strike in South Korea, even if it was a non-nuclear conflict, I mean, the sheer volume of their artillery going -- firing into South Korea, the difficulty of the terrain, I mean, it's a tough fight for any forces fighting between north and south.
HAYDEN: No, it's a very tough fight and the collateral damage would be catastrophic, Anderson. We would win that fight, that South Koreans would win that fight, but you don't want to have it because what would happen to the population of Seoul.
Let me give you a comparison here, Anderson. The South Korean president's house is called the Blue House. The Blue House is closer to North Korean artillery than the American White House is to Dallas Airport. COOPER: Wow.
HAYDEN: And that should give you some sense of the danger that a city of 14 million people would be under should this thing spin out of control.
[20:35:02] And let me reinforce a point that Fareed made just a moment ago. I don't know what a pre-emptive American strike would look like. I don't know what military leverage we have on the North Koreans that would be worth the candle of risking that kind of confrontation.
COOPER: And in terms of China, General Hayden, how realistic is it that they would do more to push North Korea? Because I mean again to Fareed's point, you know, a unified Korea with U.S. troops is not necessarily in their interest.
HAYDEN: Well, we would have to be creative with our diplomacy. And I think Fareed has already suggested one thing. We've got nearly 30,000 troops in South Korea because they are threatened by North Korea. If that threat goes away, an awful lot of the legitimacy, the purpose of the American deployment there is very much reduced. So, creative diplomacy might be able to suggest to the Chinese that a successor unified Korea need not be a Korea with American forces in it.
COOPER: And, Fareed, obviously for, you know, we've seen North Korea take American citizens before who are visiting there, we've seen them being taken off planes, it's a bargaining chip down the road.
ZAKARIA: The whole nature of the South Korean regime is a shakedown. Everything they do --
COOPER: North Korean.
ZAKARIA: I'm sorry. The North Korean regime is a shakedown. Everything they do is an attempt to extract concessions, bribes, you know, hush money. So everything they're doing is this kind of attempt to say we can be crazier, more evil, more malicious than you've ever imagined. Now what are you going to do about it?
And part of the challenge here when you're dealing with, you know, it's like a crazy hostage taker, is what exactly do you do? You know, there's some people who feel like you play chicken. Well, it's very dangerous to play chicken with somebody who has very little to lose, and the North Koreans have very little to lose. That's why I think something that involves the Chinese, maybe even the Russians. I mean this is a case where you really want to try to find a way to pressure the North Koreans in every side and have some kind of an exit.
One would hope that there's a way to get to even a military North Korean dictatorship, but not this crazy, you know, blackmailing regime that is trying to go nuclear and scare the world.
One final point, they are not-- North Korea is not an existential threat to the United States. It is a serious foreign policy problem but this is a bankrupt country which is on the verge of starvation with eight crew nuclear missiles. It doesn't have the ability to get them to the United States. Let's keep it in perspective. In that sense, Donald Trump was right. This is a regime marked more by weakness than strength.
COOPER: Fareed Zakaria, General Hayden, always good to have you on. Thank you both.
Just ahead, new polling shows President Trump's supporters are not losing faith. We talked about this at the top of the broadcast, despite in general low approval ratings, one of the lowest on record it is pointing the presidency. I'll talk to Glen Beck about why he thinks Trump's base is so loyal and willing to give him time to make good on his promises.
[20:41:55] COOPER: As we've said on Saturday, the Trump presidency will be 100 days old. Historically the first 100 days of a president's day sort of a honeymoon. But this president is backing history yet again. In a new Washington Post/ABC News Poll, President Trump's job approval is jus 42 percent, 53 percent disapprove of how he's handling his job.
But that's not the whole story. The same poll found that supporters of the president, people voted for him are standing by him. Just 2 percent of Trump supporter said they regret supporting him. Ninety- six percent of Trump supporters overall have no regret, 1 percent have no opinion.
Joining me now is Glen Beck, nationally syndicated radio host and the founder of TheBlaze.
Glen, does it surprise you to the extent to which those who voted for Donald Trump are standing by him and what do you think it says about the kind of bifurcation of these poll numbers, historically low numbers but among those who voted for him rock solid?
GLEN BECK, FOUNDER, THEBLAZE: I saw the way it appeared to me to be phrased and it was, would you have voted for him again, would you vote, you know, do you regret your vote or something like that. And I think the way people look at that question is no, I wouldn't have voted for Hillary. Just like Hillary voters would say, do you regret your vote? No, I wouldn't have voted.
So I feel like that's kind of a misleading poll in some regard because I don't think people feel they had any -- if they had to take it all over again, I think they do the same things. They didn't feel like they had a choice on either side.
COOPER: But you're saying there are things that people may be dissatisfied with but not enough to have regretted their vote given the choice that they had?
BECK: Yes. I think Donald Trump is doing a really good job of misdirection in some cases. I think he has kept the fight up with the press, which a lot of his supporters are really pleased with. I mean I think that's really who he defeated during the election, was the press. He has also kept this poll idea of nationalism and patriotism alive. And I think that he's done a good job of still appearing to be the guy who's fighting for the little guy.
I think when some of these things catch up with him, you know, his tax reform, just even his health care, he promised everything to everybody. So he promised that he was going to return us to a free market, but he also said it was going to be a single payer system. So once that is no longer in people's heads, which its everything for everybody, it becomes a reality. And that's when his base, I think, starts to shake apart.
COOPER: It is interesting to hear -- I don't know if you saw the -- read the Associated Press interview he gave, but where he said that the job was a lot harder than he thought. And that sort of echoes, things he had said about health care, like who knew it was so difficult. You know, I think most people certainly who were running did know it was very difficult.
[20:45:03] It does seem like he has been surprised at what -- the difficulty he's facing even press coverage he kind of thought. I've read an interview recently where he said he thought once he won -- suddenly the press coverage would be much better because he had won.
BECK: Yes. I don't -- I found the quote of him talking to the A.P. about why he said that NATO was obsolete and no good was because nobody had ever asked him about that, so he hadn't thought of it.
COOPER: Right, yes.
BECK: I found that astounding. So I can't really piece together his thinking. But I think the people who voted for him really want him to succeed, and so they're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. And, you know, once -- it's kind of like the unnamed Democrat running against, you know, Ronald Reagan, unnamed Democrat's great, once you put a Walter Mondale in there, you're like, "Oh, not that guy." Or, you know, it happens in both sides.
The unnamed Democratic Republican usually beats the president because they're everything to everybody. He's done a really good job of being everything to everybody for his base. And once his policies are actually put into place, then you see, oh, wait a minute, Mexico didn't pay for the wall, or you're not really building the wall 35 feet tall or whatever the specifics are. That -- he's actually -- I think he's actually lacking out a little bit that he hasn't pushed some of these things through.
COOPER: The -- what do you make of this whole 100-day benchmark because on the one hand, it is an arbitrary number. Obviously, it's something FDR pushed and presidents have been -- have talked about it ever since. And so it is truly an arbitrary number. But this president also did run on how much he was going to do not only on day one, but in the first 100 days. He put out a 100-day plan for all the things he was going to accomplish. So now he seems to be trying to say, look, this is just a ridiculous number and yet at the same time saying he's had the most successful 100 days or 90 days of any president in history. Can he have it both ways? BECK: Right. I mean, no, he can't have it both ways. And everybody who is honest knows that. Anybody who is honest on the left knows the 100-day benchmark is. It is just a benchmark. That's all it is and it's totally arbitrary. However, anybody honest also knows that he did say in the first 100 days I would introduce and fight for these things, and he has failed his plan, not some arbitrary number that the press picked out, but his plan.
So it is something to measure but that doesn't necessarily spell what the rest of his -- what the rest of his tenure is going to be. He needs to buckle down and get serious and start laying things out that are consistent with whatever his principles are.
I'll tell you, Anderson, I am more concerned -- I wish that the press would spend more time this week and I wish the American people would understand that the -- what's happening this weekend in North Korea and particularly in France is very important. What's happening in France is our future. And anyone in the media or on the left that didn't understand why Hillary Clinton won and why Donald Trump did win. All you have to do is look at France.
This is something -- back in 2008, when I was on Fox, I was talking about the coming insurrection, a little book put out by communists, and it spelled out this very problem and said this is what's coming and I was mocked for pointing this out at the time, because people like Le Pen had no support.
BECK: But you saw this weekend, 40 percent of the French population voting for either a hardcore communist or a hardcore fascist and none of the regular mainstream parties finished in the top three. The guy who's probably going to be the next president is an elitist, is a globalist, is going to do the status quo and I think that's going to spell, not that I want Le Pen, but it's going to spell trouble down the line, because things in France are just going to get worse.
And this idea of globalism, the way the elites interpret it, is only leading to more nationalism and somebody has got to start listening and understanding the press, what the people in France and really what the people in the center of the country are feeling.
COOPER: Yes. And Marine Le Pen has actually done a very good job of appealing to people in parts of France that formerly socialists appeal to -- into, you know, the areas in the Rust Belt in France which have seen the same kind of things the Rust Belt here has seen. We've got to leave it there, but Glen always good to talk to you.
BECK: With Donald Trump.
[20:50:00] COOPER: Yes, exactly. Thank you very much, Glen.
A programming note, join us at 10:00 p.m. tonight for a town hall with the Ohio Governor John Kasich. Also, up next, the Senate Intelligence Committee under pressure over its White House/Russian investigation. Details on that ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Time for tonight's Russia/White House watch with the Senate back at work today after spring break. There's new pressure on the intelligence committee to speed up its investigation to Russian interference in the 2016 election. Maju Raju joins us now with the latest.
So this investigation was supposed to take part in a bipartisan manner. What are Democrats saying today?
MAJU RAJU CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yes, indeed, Anderson. These are the first sign of partisan tensions on this committee that was running in a bipartisan fashion. Democrats believing that this committee is not moving fast enough in scheduling witnesses, issuing subpoenas and actually getting to the bottom of those alleged Trump campaign ties with Russian officials. But one of the senior Democrats on the committee today telling me earlier that it's not moving fast enough, it's not moving transparently enough today.
And even Chuck Schumer, the top Democratic leader in the Senate, adding his voice to the criticisms as well. Democrats are even saying whether or not they have full confidence in the Republican chairman, Richard Burr. But I can tell you, Anderson, Republicans are fully supporting Burr. And Republicans also say that they believe that this investigation needs to be thorough, dive deeply into the fact and that could take time.
[20:55:09] COOPER: Has the Senate committee had issues getting intelligence from the FBI or other intelligence agencies?
RAJU: Indeed they have. There have been negotiations that took place for nearly two months, I am told, between Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the committee with the intelligence community to get access to that top secret classified data. Now they have been going through that data over the last couple of weeks when they reached an agreement to actually look through that information. But there have also been concerns of not enough staff members to go through the -- all that information.
So today, the intelligence committee actually announcing that it's hired two new staff members, a Republican and a Democrat, to go through -- help go through that information. The question, Anderson, is when do those Trump associates come before the committee? We don't know that yet. Anderson?
COOPER: All right, Manu Raju. Manu thanks.
Up next, look closely. There's a little girl in the middle of the road. She just fell out of a moving bus. Thankfully, she is alive. What we know about her frightening fall and who saved her in a moment.
COOPER: Incredible story from Arkansas tonight. Take a look at this. Watch the back of a bus. It's hard to see. But a 4-year-old girl fell out of the bus. This is a dash cam video from the vehicle of an EMT who happened to be right behind the bus. The EMT did what he's trained to do, helped save the girl's life on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN CIAMPOLI, EMT WHO HELPED GIRL: When I walked over and knelt down to her, I started talking to her and she -- finally, she lifted her arm up at me when she heard my voice. But when I first walked up, she was completely unconscious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The little girl suffered a broken jaw. Has to have surgery. Police say it's unclear if she opened the door or if it wasn't locked. But she's going to be OK.
Thanks for watching "360". Time to hand it over to Jake Tapper for primetime edition of "The Lead".
[21:00:01] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks, Anderson. I thought this time slot came with better parking. "THE LEAD" starts right now.