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Trump At Day 99: "I Thought It Would Be Easier"; Trump On N Korea: "Major, Major Conflict" Possible; Trump: 100 Days A "False Standard," But I Did A Lot; No Health Vote, No Wall Funds, But No Shutdown; House Passes One-Week Measure To Keep Govt Open; Schumer: No Chance GOP Health Bill Passes Senate; Senate Passes One-Week Funding Extension, Heads To Trump's Desk; Report: Bannon Hasn't Checked Off Any Major Promises; Tillerson On North Korea: The Threat Is Real; U.S. Demands World Isolate North Korea; Tillerson Leads U.N. Session On North Korea; Tillerson: Patience = Acceptance Of Nuclear N Korea; Trump: "Major, Major Conflict" With North Korea Possible; U.S. Demands Immediate Isolation Of North Korea; Trump: "Major, Major Conflict" With North Korea Possible; Trump: Kim Jong-Un's Rise To Power "Not East At That Age"; Trump On China's President: "He Is A Very Good Man"; Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired April 28, 2017 - 12:00   ET


April 28, 2017

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to Inside Politics. I am John King. Thanks for sharing your day with us. It is day 99 and this eye opening reflection from the president.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier. I thought it was more of a -- I'm a details oriented person, I think you would say that. But, I do miss my old life. This -- I like to work, so that's not a problem. But this is actually more work.

KING: From eye opening to eye popping at North Korea.

TRUMP: There's a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.

KING: Some new economic numbers out today and there is no trump bump. Wall Street, yes, is doing well, but the overall U.S. economy barely grew in the first three months of 2017. So what's your verdict at 100 days? Well, for starters, not just the president getting mediocre grades. Remember, he has a 44 percent approval ratings as we get to a hundred days. Look at this with House Speaker Paul Ryan, 38 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the House Speaker.

That's down from 46 percent in January. I'm guessing the Obamacare appeal tobacco has something to do with that stuff. What about the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell? Well, he is at 27 percent. Normally you wouldn't brag about that but he is up from 20 percent in January. Republicans are driving that increase if you want to call it that. Republicans happy. Mitch McConnell got the President Supreme Court nominee confirmed. Now, what else is happening at the state right now? Another stunning number if you want to take a look here. The American people back in January 50 percent thought President Trump would get the repeal and replace vote through the congress for Obamacare. Now, I guess you've been paying attention. Only 20 percent of Americans believe that the congress and President Trump will repeal and replace Obamacare. That confidence is slipping. Remember the president wanted that repeal and replace vote this week. He's not going to get it. Still he says while a hundred days is a false standard, he's doing great.


TRUMP: I don't know. We're moving awfully well. Getting a lot of things done. We are -- I don't think there's ever been anything like this. It's a false standard, a hundred days, but I have to tell you I don't think anybody has done what we've been able to do in a hundred days so we're very happy.

KING: That's the president's take. Very happy. With us to share the reporting and their insights, Jackie Kucinich of The Daily Beast. CNN's Nia-Malika Henderson. The Atlantic's Molly Ball. And Mary Katharine Ham of The Federalist. The president wanted three big things in this final sprint to 100 days. A house to vote to repeal Obamacare, a big down payment on his border wall, and a deal to fund the government and avoid a shutdown. He won't get that Obamacare vote.

Republicans still feuding over a plan and he won't get the wall money. The president blames democrats for that but a good number of republicans also are opposed. The government though apparently will not be shutdown at midnight as day 99 gives way to day 100. CNN's Manu Raju live on Capitol Hill with the latest. As always, Manu up to the deadline maneuvering.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: And no question about it. This is how Capitol Hill works. They wait for the last second and punt and then they punt until next week to see if they can get a deal to keep the government open up until October 1st. Right now there are indications that they be -- that both sides believe they can come to an agreement, but certainly no -- it's nothing as certain until the final day. I'm sure that will open in the next day, next week.

So John, I just had a chance to sit down with Senator Chuck Schumer, the top democrat in the senate. We had a wide ranging interview, everything from talking about North Korea to Russia to health care. Which of course is what the House of Republicans are pushing on right now. They believe the leadership does if they could try to get the votes and maybe if they do get enough votes. They can try to push it out of their chamber next week but when I asked Senator Schumer his chance in the senate he really, really was skeptical it could pass. This is how he responded. Is there any chance the health care bill that's in the house right now if it passes it will pass the senate?


RAJU: Why? You're that confident?

SCHUMER: I don't think so. It is so bad for the average state, for the average working family that it's very, very hard to see that bill and by the way, I don't think it would ever get there.

RAJU: And what he meant by that last comment, John, I don't think it will ever get there is because the pro -- the procedural rules in the senate, right now the republicans are trying to pass this through away they can actually avoid a filibuster in senate and pass it on a party line vote but because of the way that the senate operates it may fall -- run afoul of those rules and actually may require democratic support to pass that house bill out of the senate.

And as we know, there's not going to be any democratic support and Chuck Schumer made very clear that democrats were not going to work with him on health care and probably not his tax plan as well. So tough sledding ahead for the president to get his agenda through given he and the democrats in the senate who do have power to stop things plan to do just that, john.

KING: The fights in the first hundred days carryover to the second hundred days. Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. Thanks so much. We know that the house has passed the temporary measure to keep the government open for another week while as negotiations with Manu talked about continue. The senate will take up that temporary one week measure sometime this afternoon if the train stays on the track. Let's bring it into the room. It's been an interesting week. I want to start the conversation.

I want to play again the president in this interview with Reuters yesterday talking about the job. All presidents are surprised. Let's be honest. All presidents are surprised. President Obama talked about how hard it was to change Washington. Harder than he thought it was going to be to change Washington. It's a beast of a job but listen to President Trump as he reflects on kind of miss my old life.

TRUMP: This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier. I thought it was more of a -- I'm a details oriented person, I think you would say that. But, I do miss my old life. This -- I like to work, so that's not a problem. But this is actually more work.

KING: Who knew? The president sees complicated. I'm being a little snarky. It's always interesting to hear from a president as they go through this transition because whether you voted for this president or you didn't vote for this president, however you want to score it, 100 days, we're he's still learning a lot and he's still learning a lot. Never been in government before.

JACKIE KUCINICH, THE DAILY BEAST REPORTER: Particularly -- I was going to say that. Particularly because where this is someone who's never been in government before. Is used to being in charge -- in charge and having what he says go. That's not what happens here. We have as with executive orders kind of in some cases. Not always. But certainly not with congress. He hadn't -- he didn't have to work this hard when he was just running his business. This is a totally different ball game.

Now -- but it seems like voters at this point, his people are giving him the benefit of the doubt and saying, "Listen, Washington is a tough place to change. But it seems like at its core this was over promising and underperforming."

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. And it means it's off brand for Donald Trump because he was the one to talk about how easy everything would be. Now, everybody who was in office, former presidents, senators, and congress people, how they didn't -- they didn't have the goods. They were dumb. I mean, you would -- you would say, so it's very much off brand. It's also sort of off brand I think because he talks about this sweeping optimism that's going all across the country.

This isn't -- he didn't sound very optimistic in that interview -- in that interview. I also thought so much he sounded like a first lady because it's first ladies who were typically, sort of, the reluctant ones, right? And miss their old lives. They talk about the cocoon of the White House and so I thought it was -- it was off brand in many ways from what we've seen from this president and it's also like does he realize he's on tape and that we can hear what he is saying and these aren't just private musings?

KING: Well, that does make it difficult but he's always been like that. That is -- that is classic trademark, good essential Trump in that he sometimes interviews where, kind of, like, therapy sessions where he just talks about what's going on. And again, I don't mean to be snarky about it because there are two ways to look at this. If you don't like Trump, you can say he didn't get his Obamacare vote, he didn't get his wall money, he hasn't gotten any big signature and issue with the first 100 days.

Now, he misses, you know, Trump Tower and Mar-a-Lago and he doesn't want the job and he's not interested and he's a failure. Or you can say here's a guy who had no government experience, who yes, took a few bruises in the first hundred days and listening to him and what is he learning from it then he'll take into the second hundred days? So I just -- I don't know what quite to make it but it's interesting to hear him, sort of, reflect on the life work balance I guess is the question.

MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC STAFF WRITER: Well, I don't think anybody minds him being sort of refreshingly honest about the challenges that he is facing. You know, I think -- I don't think anyone would believe him if he said that he knew exactly what was -- what to expect and this is just like he thought it would be. But I think Jackie's went about overpromising is really important because he did -- his promises were so extravagant, right?

And he said our leaders are stupid people, all you've got to do is get the right people in there, I alone will fix this right. I can do this. And there -- and, you know, the list of promises that you pointed to at the top of the show is a much contracted list of promises from the actual hundred day promises that were on the website and in the campaign. Again, all politicians make unrealistic promises during the campaign. But these were very specific. They were hundred day promises.

Sometimes in some cases day one promises. He's achieved hardly any of them and he's actually flip flopped and said he is not going to do even do some of them like the Chinese currency manipulation. And I think even the government funding, you know, you can say, like, OK, at least he's not going to have a shutdown. But they don't have a deal to fund the government. They have a one week extension, so --

KING: Right. To your point -- let me interrupt the conversation, just to one point so that'll probably do have a little bit of breaking news. There's nothing like a Friday to speed up the procedures in the United States Congress. We thought the senate vote on that one week government spending plan to keep the government open for one more week while they work out the details to keep it open through September. It would be laid this afternoon.

They just passed it while we're having this conversation on a voice vote so they can get out of dodge for the weekend, so the House and the Senate will now both pass a one week temporary spending measure. That now goes to the President of the United States. He will sign it today. The government will not shut down this week. We assume they'll fix it next week but come back next week and we'll tell you. You were about to say?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, THE FEDERALIST SENIOR WRITER: Yes. Well, that's why you go to the DMV at 4 o'clock on a Friday so you can get out within an hour. No. I mean, because this is off brand in a way that I think is interesting which is that he is admitting that he was mistaken and that is actually not something he does very often and so I do think that's interesting going in the next hundred days.

He talks about the hundred days being a false measure and yes, it's because it's a round number and that's how humans work and it's sort of arbitrary, but it's the first hundred days because the first hundred days are easier and you have more leeway and you have more good will to work with and it gets hard as you get closer and closer to election so that does not -- that fundamental fact doesn't change. And there are a lot -- a lot of missteps here.

I was talking to some Trump supporters just yesterday in the nearby area who were -- I thought surprisingly forgiving on something, like, the wall stuff. And he said, "Look, he knows how to do a deal, he's just saving it for the time that he doesn't. Big problem for him is that things do get harder politically."

KING: Right. And those TVDs or those let's-do-it-laters pileup and the question is can -- if this political standing keeps going down, can he get it done later but it's interesting. To your point about that the president you just heard him say it's a false standard. He -- last week he tweeted out that it was ridiculous. Go back in what he said in the campaign. Go back and read the contract they put out. He gets it. He gets it.

Yes, the second hundred days can be way more important than the first hundred days if you learn the lesson but the interesting the Washington post a story today. The president is doing a lot of interviews at the hundred-day mark view. In the Washington post they talk about visiting Steve Bannon's office. A list of 10 major pieces of legislation that Trump promised in his 'Contract with Voters' hangs from near the ceiling down to the floor. None is crossed out yet.

So even inside the Trump White House they get that none of the big signatures, yes, they've done a lot. Yes, they've signed some things the republican has asked to pull back Obama regulations or last minute Obama Administration steps. Yes, they've done some of these executive actions that maybe months from now will be dramatic change as they get implemented but they haven't done any of their signature things. Paul Ryan has said this will take 200 days.

I just want to show you a Breitbart headline from yesterday. Without big-ticket win in first hundred days Ryan Touts flurry of blocked regulations. So the president's friends at Breitbart they don't make known of the effect of the president hasn't got any. They're just trying to blame Paul Ryan. This is a -- it's an interesting conversation in the country but also within the republican party in the conservative movement about who's to blame for no signature achievement.

BALL: Well, actually the previously scheduled republicans of the war that we've all been covering for the last six years is still under way. I think there was --


BALL: well, no, no, no. I would not have been surprised if actually it did go away.

HAM: Right.

BALL: If every -- you know, it's easy to be friends when you're winning and easy to be at each other throats when you're losing to see the democrats, but actually Trump has not managed to heal or even paper over those divisions and, you know, he's got consolidated republican control both houses of congress and he can't get anything even through the house where you don't need a super majority. I thought that statistic that you played at the top of the show of people 50 per -- people's belief that he can get the Obamacare repeal on going from 50 percent to 20 percent was amazing because that's not an incremental change, that's not a small change.

HAM: Yes. It was huge.

BALL: That's a lack -- that's a com -- that's a real erosion in people's faith in his ability to get things done at all. And that seems like a big deal.

KING: And the danger is that he becomes the status quo. The outsider candidate who disrupted the Republican Party who surprised people the general election. He becomes the status quo because he is the president. If he can't affect change, that's one of the risks at (INAUDIBLE). Everyone sit tight. Shift to the global stage next. The Secretary of State opens the door to direct negotiations with North Korea as the president bluntly says the possibility of war is absolutely real.


KING: Welcome back. At the United Nations today stern language from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: The threat of a North Korean nuclear attack on Seoul or Tokyo is real. It is likely only a matter of time before North Korea develops the capability to strike the U.S. main land.

KING: Tillerson led a special Security Council session where the United States demanded immediate diplomatic and economic isolation of North Korea.

TILLERSON: Additional patience will only mean acceptance of a nuclear North Korea. The more we bode our time the sooner we will run out of it.

On the same subject this interview with Reuters news agency, excuse me. Listen here, President Trump said he hoped China would help broker solution but was incredibly blunt about the potential price if diplomacy fails.

TRUMP: There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely.

KING: In some ways that's obvious. They've been testing missiles. They have a nuclear weapons program. The president has said he's not going to act like previous administration and just watch and be patient. He had sent U.S. naval assets into the region. He had sent a missile defense system into South Korea, so in some ways that's obvious but to hear a president say it just to hear his words and him say it just, kind of, it's one of those things that just makes you go whoa.

HENDERSON: It does. But again, this is a president that likes to talk tough and the then backs down, right? I mean, he talked about funding for the wall in this war and then maybe the government will shut down. Backed away from that. Talked about the one China policy or criticizing the one China policy and then maybe diverting from that. That didn't happen. China is a currency manipulator. All of that didn't happen. So because he says so many things that sort of end up not being true or not coming to fruition, I think sometimes it's his words in some ways might not hold the same weight as a -- as a previous president who he -- who didn't speak in that sort of blustering way.

KING: Well, that's kind of dangerous if Kim Jong-un interprets that, that in these domestic spending things, the president has blinked or in these other things that are not about not a showdown with the nuclear nation that's belligerent towards you. The president has backed off. If Kim Jong-un thinks President Trump is not serious then this goes nowhere. I think part of the calculation is the president wants to convince Kim Jong-un he is serious. Yes, the military posture is going to stay. You need to come to the table. You need to back off. Stop testing missiles and then you need to say, "I'm willing to come to the tail," and not just come to the table to talk but come to the table for negotiations about dismantling the nuclear program.

KUCINICH: Well -- and I do think though he is starting to realize how much his words do matter. In the Reuters' interview he said -- it sounded a little bizarre about Kim Jong-un, you know, when he was asked about whether he was a rational person and he declined to say he was irrational saying I hope he is rational. I don't know. I'm not qualified.

KING: Well, let's listen to that. Let's listen to that please.


KING: Let's -- this is in a Reuters' interview where he's asked about the young North Korean leader who inherited the country when his dad died during the Obama Administration. Let's listen.

TRUMP: He is 27 years old. His father dies, took over a regime. So say what you want but that's not easy, especially at that age. You know, I'm not giving him credit or not giving him credit, I'm saying that's a very hard thing to do. As to whether or not he's rational, I have no opinion on it. I hope he's rational.

KUCINICH: That's what I'm saying. He is -- he knows that they're listening. And if they are going to try to negotiate at some point he -- unlike some of the things he says about leaders in this country, he doesn't want to be on the record calling him crazy.

KING: But he sounds almost in an empathetic -- I don't -- what's the right word for that?

HAM: Yes. It sounds like perhaps, like, he was trying to identify with him in some way. There is this part about taking over the family business. Of course, I'll take Trump's business any day over the that dynasty. But, you know, I think he does in this conversation say this about Kim Jong-un and what I think is interesting about Korea is that -- I'm losing my train of thought on here.

KING: Well, let's --

BALL: Well, I would say, you know, to this point before about the sort of bluster, you know, the -- President Obama's critics on foreign policy. One of their main criticisms was that he did project weakness, that he didn't project the, sort of, toughness and then what was needed was a leader who would just act more tough. And so much of diplomacy is about the -- you know, words and the tone that you set. So that is why, you know, Trump's credibility is going to be crucial because if they believe the bluster, if they believe the tough talk, that will be a test of some of the foreign policy hawks who thought that it was because of Obama's rhetoric that we've got into some of these situations. HAM: Well, wait, here is the thought that I lost which is that yes, you can use that to change things, but the problem with Trump, despite claiming he's a details person, I'm not sure that he is. And when you hear a Rex Tillerson talk about this, you feel like he has a bit more of a strategy, but what's the strategy from the actual president because using that rhetoric to change things requires that.

KING: Right. It's interesting to the point you make about Obama is, you know, the stick has a lot more value. The carrot, you can sell the carrots and people can see the stick I guess is the best way to put it. Let -- the president is very personal. You heard him talking about Kim Jong-un. He's also making a bet on President Xi. In the language the president is using sounds a lot like I was with George W. Bush when he looked into Vladimir Putin's soul on that trip. And President Trump seems to be making the same bet.

Here is what he says about President Xi, "I believe he is trying very hard. He certainly doesn't want to see turmoil and death. He doesn't want to see it. He is a good man. He is a very good man and I got to know him very well." It was a one weekend meeting. I'm not disputing the president involved with the Chinese president. You can sometimes strike up a relationship very quickly. But if you talk to human rights activists, they would have a different opinion of President Xi and the practices within China.

So this is another personal bet by this president that sitting down with someone, bonding with him is going to get the Chinese government to go beyond the lines it drew in the Obama Administration and the George W. Bush Administration and the Clinton Administration. We're trying to strike a resolution.

HENDERSON: Yes. And I mean, it's sort of, you know, in business, the power of personal relationships and networks and connections is something that is real and actually moves things forward. He's talked about this a lot. I mean, if you look at some of his interviews, he's talked about how he really got along well with Angela Merkel for instance and he's talked about -- because obviously in the initial days of his presidency there were all these stories that came out about how he wasn't really connecting with these world leaders and, you know, all the --

KING: And during the campaign he said China was raping the United States.

HENDERSON: Yes, exactly, exactly.

KING: So it's quite a term.

HENDERSON: Exactly. So I mean, it is quite a term but again we don't know if this is a real, sort of, deliverable in terms of changing the course of actions in terms of China and North Korea.

BALL: Well, it seems to me like a very transparent negotiation tactic. I mean, anyone who's ever been around President Trump knows he's a flatterer and that's part of the -- one of the tools in his sort of deal making tool box is to say nice things about people or to people and hope that that brings them closer to his side or creates some reciprocity. The question is does it work in foreign policy where I -- things are not simple as --

KING: One of the most complicated foreign puzzles in the world that predates him by three or four administrations. We'll see. Up next, the many ways to grade a president in 100 days. The poll numbers, the promises kept and broken, and of course the tweets.


KING: Welcome back. There are any number of ways to grade a president, judge a president, take a look at a president, at the 100- day mark. How are they doing? Passing things, getting things done. Here's one way a lot of people use. Just take a peek at the president's approval rating, compare that to recent predecessors, and go all the way back to Eisenhower here and the numbers don't lie. Donald Trump is historically unpopular at the 100-day mark. A 44 percent approval rating.

You can see again going all the way back to the 1950s in Dwight D. Eisenhower, Donald Trump at the bottom of the class if you will when it comes to presidential approval at the 100-day mark. That's one way to look at it. Thing that interests me is what's the president done in his first hundred days? How has he traveled? Where has he gone? You see the blue here? Those are trips to Mar-a-Lago. He likes to go home to Palm Beach for the weekend. The gold, visits to other Trump properties. A lot of the ethics watch docs that had question with that. If you remember President Trump as a candidate was very critical of President Obama for doing that.