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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
North Korea Threatens Hydrogen Bomb Test in Pacific; Puerto Rico GOv: Power Could Be Out For Months; U.S. Island Of St. Croix Devastated By Powerful Storm; FEMA: U.S. Island of St. Croix Without Power; St. Croix Without Power: Hospital Evacuating Patients; Gov. Issues 24-Hour Curfew On All Four U.S. Island; London Says It Won't Renew Uber's License To Operate; Boston Bombing Survivor Hits The Big Screen; Bombing Survivor On What "Boston Strong" Means For Him; Gyllenhaal: On Boston Bombing Film: Can't Shy Away From Pain; Bombing Survivor On New Film: Everyone Can Relate To Loss. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired September 22, 2017 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CEDRIC LEIGHTON, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: What you are looking at from a radioactive standpoint is large areas of East Asia, the Western Pacific, all the way potentially to the West Coast of the United States being blanketed by radiation.
[16:30:12] BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. intelligence community will now watch for very particular signs.
LEIGHTON: So what they could potentially see is special work being done on the missile itself. They could see certain things being moved around that would potentially indicate that a warhead of a particular variety was being put inside the missile.
STARR: Kim matching Trump on the battle of words and getting personal. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.
President Trump responding: Kim Jong-un of North Korea who is obviously a madman who doesn't mind starving his people will be tested like never before.
All after a doomsday warning from President Trump at the U.N. that if the U.S. is forced to defend itself or its allies --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.
STARR: The head of the U.S. Strategic Command who would help lead any attack on North Korea, making the case for U.S. fire power as a deterrent to Kim.
GEN. JOHN HYTEN, COMMANDER, U.S. STRATEGIC COMMAND: We are right there and we're watching all the time. And if you want to go that way, we are ready, so we can deter attack on North America or our allies.
(END VIDEOTAPE) STARR: But Kim Jong-un does not appear to be reacting to any deterrence options. He is undeterred by all accounts moving ahead on his weapons program -- Jake.
TAPPER: Barbara Starr for us at the Pentagon, thank you so much.
Joining me now is the former director of CIA and NSA, retired four- star General Michael Hayden.
General, thanks for being here. And I know you've actually served in South Korea.
MICHAEL HAYDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CIA & NSA: A couple of times, yes.
TAPPER: You have a lot of experience in the region.
First of all, explain for our viewers, how big a deal would it be for North Korea to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific?
HAYDEN: Yes, that would be off the chart, Jake, all right? I mean, we have tolerated the nuclear test today, underground, no venting, no environmental concerns, regional concerns for safety and so on.
That would be so dramatic. You know, I may be a bit prejudice, Jake, you said I served in Korea a couple of times. I'm used to the hyperbolic rhetoric coming out of North Korea. So, I -- my instincts are to discount what the foreign minister said in a speech yesterday.
And all that said, we have dueling hyperbole between yourselves and the Koreans. And number one, that's a bit distasteful, we should be a little bit embarrassed, I think. But, number two, it could lead to places neither they nor we want to be. So, there is a reason for concern.
TAPPER: What do you think the U.S. should do if North Korea does conduct this test of a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific?
HAYDEN: Well, I mean, I just said, that's off the chart. I mean, that is such an affront to civilized life on the planet. I mean, it's been 35, almost 40 years since anyone has tested in the atmosphere, and that was done in a controlled environment within the national territory of China. So, now, you have this, how do they even do it, Jake? Do you put a notice to mariners out there, a notice to air men? Do you create a closure zone out there in the Pacific or you just take your chances?
And so, I think we might see signals if that was about to happen and then I think we would have to bring what I would call almost unbearable pressure.
And, by the way, you know, you got President Trump talking very tough. He's kind of regulated his language a little bit though. That over the top utter destruction or total destruction has generally been about an actual North Korean attack, not disarming of the North Koreans. I would think he would begin to have -- our president would have broader international consensus, that that, what you are talking about, just can't happen.
TAPPER: You said we should be embarrassed that we are going tit-for- tat when it comes to the hyperbole wars. You're saying we should be embarrassed by the language that President Trump is using. He called him rocket man on Twitter, and also at a speech at the United Nations, and then today, he called him a madman on Twitter. Although I think the jury is actually kind of out on whether Kim Jong-un is actually a mad man as opposed to, you know, crazy like a fox.
HAYDEN: Look, I'll vote for sane, rational, calculating, within his context. And his context is personal and regime survival.
So, Jake, what I think he's on is this arc, almost inevitably, all right, that he has got to create facts on the ground. He has got to create the kind of nuclear capacity that we find most objectionable, the kind that reaches the United States. And then maybe he'll be willing to sit down to talk about a changed relationship.
TAPPER: What do you think -- let me tell you something. So, the argument from the Trump view of the world is, and I know this from reading Steve Bannon and reading President Trump and listening to President Trump, is you Bushies and Obamaites and Clintonites, you guys have been doing diplomacy and trying to deal with North Korea for a long, long time.
[16:35:10] You'd done sanctions, you done this. We're going to try it our way.
Do they not have an argument to make there, that maybe tough talk might work?
HAYDEN: So, so, they have a very good argument to make. And about a year ago, Jake, I started saying that within our current definition of acceptable risk, the North Koreas get to that place I just described. And so, the option we have in front of us is, redefine our definition of acceptable risk.
The Trump administration has done, I get that. I don't object to that. But that's got to be done with great care. I would love for the American government as a whole to speak on this the way Jim Mattis speaks on it. I think I know what his bottom line is. But you got the president and his language being imprecise and, frankly, from time to time, over the top, that makes it hard, Jake, for you and me to understand our bottom line. So, what do you think Kim is thinking?
TAPPER: I don't know.
I do want to ask you before you go about Iran because the president is about to make an announcement of some sort about the Iran deal. I was surprised earlier this week, an opponent of the Iran deal, the chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, Ed Royce of California, he said the U.S. should stay in it. He said all those hundreds of billions of dollars have been given to Iranians. The toothpaste is out of the tube. What we do is stay in it and enforce the hell out of it, to quote him.
What do you think?
HAYDEN: Yes. Look, I've written enough op-eds about weaknesses I thought existed in the joint comprehensive plan of action, the Iranian deal, all right? So, I've got my owner personal gash about the deal. You know, Jim Mattis, again, in his confirmation hearing, pointed out, you know, the word of the United States has to mean something. So, you've got that issue that we're not changing course of action because we've had an election. There has to be some consistency.
That has an impact on the North Koreans. Jake, the only way -- the only off-ramp between us and the North Koreans is ultimate negotiations. So why should we go out of the way to prove that we are not as sincere, a secure, constant negotiating partner by ripping up this deal?
Now, that affects the Northeast Asia nuclear problem, the gulf nuclear problem is well-served ripping it up. Three boxes, nuclear now, nuclear in ten years, and everything the Iranians are doing elsewhere in the region. We've got them kind of cabined nuclear now. I think we push back against all their other activity, and we begin to talk now with our friends and even some folks who aren't our friends that we can't let the provisions of the deal lapse in 10 or 12 years as it currently exists.
But you leave this box here. We don't break it. Now, if we push over here in these other boxes and Iranians walk, that's their decision.
TAPPER: General Hayden, always great to have you on. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
HAYDEN: Thanks, Jake.
Could President Trump's tweets backfire? We're going to examine that question in a CNN special report this evening called "Twitter and Trump" that airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.
CNN is the one of the first news outlets to make it to St. Croix after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory. It's one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. One man told us he would be rather be back in a war zone than be on that island. That's next.
Then, Uber kicked out of one of the largest cities in the word. What's that about? Stay with us.
[16:42:53] TAPPER: Welcome back.
Destruction and devastation in Puerto Rico. In our national lead today, the U.S. territory is facing a long difficult road of recovery after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. A new normal for the millions of Americans who live there. No power, no running water that could last up to six months. Images coming from Puerto Rico show homes, streets, highways completely flooded. And with more rain expected today, that could unleash more life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. CNN's Leyla Santiago joins me now from Catano, Puerto Rico.
Leyla, the National Weather Service just issued a dire warning to a dam in the western part of Puerto Rico.
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Jake. We actually watched the helicopter, which I suspect is carrying relief aid right now fly just over us.
I have spoken to the governor's office right now and they tell me that will require them evacuating 70,000 people, because this dam on the west coast, in Isabella, that area, has now created a flash flooding issue. That is going to be the big priority whether it comes to emergency management. National Guard is there. Emergency management there. And governor indicating that the Coast Guard is head that way. And that is only one part of the island.
Many parts like where I am right now, Catano, you see this type of devastation. The roads are flooded. There is debris across major interstates, making impossible to reach all parts of the island. So, the governor is saying, admitting that they actually don't have fool damage assessment at this hour.
And here in Catano, I spoke to one woman. Her name is Luz Marie Colon, and she was telling me that all she's asking for is a roof over her head, she's asking for a bed that is not filled with water, water, and food. She became a little emotional when I asked her what the toughest part was. I want you to listen to our exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANTIAGO: She needs a roof. That's what she's saying. And a bed that's not filled with water.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANTIAGO: And you know, she's asking for basic things. Another thing that people here are asking for is just basic communication. Many people still at this hour unable to reach their loved ones. Jake.
TAPPER: More than 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico. Leyla Santiago thank you so much. And of course not just Puerto Rico, Hurricane Maria annihilated homes and knock out communication in the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is there as one of the first journalists to reach that U.S. island since Hurricane Maria.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jake, this is Frederiksted in the west of Saint Croix U.S. territory. And obviously, behind me, you can see the devastation caused here. They are out of power, and this is -- the city (INAUDIBLE) that would normally thriving with tourist. We flew by a helicopter about an hour from Puerto Rico. And from above, devastation to the east of the island looks not that awful. Here it looks a lot worst and on the ground, it is quite frankly devastating. And the people are beginning to get quite angry while they see as the lack of attention given towards them. And in fact, some of the statements from the governor of St. Croix,
people in this street here have been saying that it sounds like it wasn't too much of a problem. Well, here, their lives are being devastated. One man behind me screaming I would much rather spend another year at war in Iraq than stick around here much longer. It's devastating really to see this whole of the business community torn to pieces. The lost dog bar around the corner, that had the back torn clean off. The owners there not sure when they can begin serving drinks here again. There's a bees nest that was blown straight into their refrigerator quite a devastating series of stories we've been hearing here. The relief effort, well, we saw it ourselves. It's beginning to slowly get underway.
FEMA brought food to a school not so far from where I'm standing but it ran out very fast. Five or six hundred people formed a huge queue there to get it and then it ran out, a bit of discontent growing there as well. It may soon be alleviated because we just saw recently an enormous C-17 cargo plane landing on the airfields here. But still this, a U.S. territory without power potentially for months now it's life utterly transformed by Hurricane Maria, also battered by Irma too. And a sense I think of anger growing here that they feel their lives have transformed, that they need so much more help than they feel is coming their way. Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Nick Paton Walsh on Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Island, thank you so much. He became one of the faces of the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing. Now Jeff Bauman's heroic recover is on the big screen. Next, I'm going to talk to both Jeff Bauman and Jake Gyllenhaal who plays him in the new film. Stay with us.
[16:50:00] TAPPER: We're back with our "TECH LEAD" today -- "TECH LEAD" today. Uber is losing its license in London England. The City announced today it will not renew it the ride-sharing company's license saying, Uber is not "fit and proper" to operate in United Kingdom's Capital in the most populous city, blaming Uber's approach to reporting series of crimes and its use of software to prevent regulators and law enforcement from monitoring the app. London's Mayor Sadiq Khan argued, "Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security."
Uber has already said it will immediately challenge the decision. The license expires in just over a week but the company can continue to operate while it appeals. Our "POP CULTURE LEAD" now, in the aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon Terrorist Attack, he was the subject of this iconic photo. Jeff Bauman rushed from the Boston Marathon Terrorist Attack where he lost both his legs. The image thrust Bauman into the spotlight as a symbol of Boston strong. His recovery is the subject of a new movie out in theaters today, it's called Stronger based on Bauman's memoir of the same name.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Chest up, chest down, chest up, chest up. Chest -- OK, chest up, chest, chest up, chest up, good. Good. OK. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) he was so tall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Stronger is a moving and nuanced depiction of what remains a struggle for Jeff Bauman as I discussed -- as I discussed earlier with him and with actor Jake Gyllenhaal who plays him in the film.
TAPPER: One of the great strengths of the film is you hear it through your ears, the term, people yelling Boston Strong and sometimes it rings a little empty, sometimes it feels a little meaningless. Ultimately it comes to mean something for you but it was -- that might surprise some people.
JEFF BAUMAN, BOSTON MARATHON TERRORIST ATTACK SURVIVOR: At first, you know, I was just dealing with my personal injury and trying to focus on who I was going to be and who -- what my new -- what my new life was going to entail as you know, getting moving forward. So I was really, really focused on that coming right out of the hospital and even in the hospital. So -- but the Boston Strong stuff started to resonate when I was reading all the stuff that people are sending me and I could just feel the connection through all the positivity that was being sent my way. It was really magical and it did you know, kind of forced me to get up and get moving.
TAPPER: Jake, it's quite a transformation, you really become, Jeff, not just in posture and accent and all that also you just inhibit his pain. How did you do it?
JAKE GYLLENHAAL, ACTOR: Time, you know, time with Jeff, trying to understand, you know, the best I could, you know, his circumstances at that time and how difficult it was. I think from the outset, you know, we were -- I knew that I would never get close to the understanding the pain that he had gone through, but I knew that I would try to put as much as I could into it to understand. And I spent time you know, watching him, talking to him, talking to other people who were suffering from injuries like his, amputees, working with the doctors and nurses that you know, helped him recover.
[16:55:15] TAPPER: Many of whom play themselves in the film?
GYLLENHAAL: Yes, we have Dr. (INAUDIBLE) surgeon whom he amputated, just like Michelle, his PT, and Odessa, his Intensive Care Nurse, the Rottweiler, incredible and Martineau brothers who designed the top part of his prosthetics. It was (INAUDIBLE) legs. And you know, so we have all of those people in there and I spent and David Gordon Green, the Director and I spent a lot of time with them beforehand.
TAPPER: it's a Hollywood movie but it -- there's no -- it's words and all.
BAUMAN: Yes, it's not really a Hollywood movie --
TAPPER: Yes, I don't mean it like in the negative sense -- BAUMAN: It's a David Gordon Green --
TAPPER: Right. So it's real and people are flawed. How is your family dealing -- but you are excited about the portrayal, how's everybody in your family dealing?
BAUMAN: Yes. Not really too excited about it but you know, they understand that it's just like a tiny little piece of their personality and those characters so it's -- you know, they are really just supportive of me. And my mom is really -- you know, she likes Jake a lot, so she's like he did a great job.
GYLLENHAAL: (INAUDIBLE) gave Patty, you know, you are all right. But she was upset that her apartment was so dirty in the movie.
BAUMAN: Hey and cluttered, yes. There's a lot of clutter
GYLLENHAAL: Yes. She was really upset about that.
BAUMAN: She's really OCD, really neat.
TAPPER: So that part is not true for the record.
GYLLENHAAL: For the record, Patty's equipment is always clean.
TAPPER: That's fake news. So I do want to ask because -- about this -- the fact that the film doesn't sugar coat everything, or doesn't sugarcoat anything. And you know, as people in the media covering Jeff and as viewers watching Jeff, you know, we see the horrible pictures, we read about them in the paper, a year later he pops up on THE LEAD promoting his book standing there with your legs, and people are like, oh, good story is over. But the film makes clear this is a struggle, this is difficult. it's painful, it's always going to be painful.
GYLLENHAAL: We've always said about this movie. This movie is about a guy who learns how to take a few steps and the enormous journey that he has to, you know, where he has to go to get there. And it is full of pain. But you know it's also full of laughter. And the thing that made me fall in love with this character, playing and ultimately when I met Jeff made me love him so much is his sense of humor.
TAPPER: Yes, that really comes across.
GYLLENHAAL: Yes. And I think that -- I think that is what we tried to get as well. You can't shy away from the pain because you don't want to shy away from the joy either. And I think, you know, life is full of both and if you, you know, cut corners one place, you are going to have to cut corners the other. And I think an audience can feel that.
TAPPER: I think so. What do you want people to take away from the movie?
BAUMAN: Maybe inspiration. And you know, I don't necessarily want to be like the center of attention in this movie. I want, you know, people to relate to my family and to you know, just getting through something, getting through loss, in general. And everybody deals with loss. You know, I -- in the movie, I deal with the loss of my legs and adjusting and trying to become a new person essentially. And I want people to relate to that and to you know, look at the waves in the movie and you know, you get through those hard times where this -- you know, where is this going to go. But then you get the levity with the laughter and you see people around me lift me up to this point that I'm at today. And you can see me now walking around and I have a three-year-old daughter and everything is great. And -- but it was hard. So I think people would definitely relate to, you know, everything in the movie, not just, you know, the tragedy and what happened to me.
GYLLENHAAL: I see a thing on Facebook post -- page the other day said, it doesn't have to make headlines to be hard. And I think that's what this movie says there. You know, it doesn't necessarily have to be the situation he finds himself in but the stories that have come just by proxy by being around him to me form his history, everyone is struggling. And I think Jeff shows us if he can do it, then we can do it, you know.
TAPPER: And what is next for you? Are you going to be doing some big Hollywood blockbuster? Are you going to -- are you going to do a superhero movie?
GYLLENHAAL: No, I think I've already played one. So you know, I'm good.
TAPPER: All right. Jeff Bauman and Jake Gyllenhaal, thank you so much.
BAUMAN: Thank you.
GYLLENHAAL: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Our thanks to Jeff and Jake. Be sure to tune in this Sunday morning to "STATE OF THE UNION." I'm going to talk to Senator Susan Collins who's currently leaning no on the Graham-Cassidy bill but has not made a decision. If she becomes a definite no then that bill would die. Will she make the announcement on our show? Plus Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will join me to talk about North Korean sanctions and more. It all starts at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern on Sunday. That is it for THE LEAD on this beautiful Friday. I'm Jake Tapper, I now turn you over to Jim Acosta he's in for Wolf Blitzer but he's still is in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Thanks for watching. I'll see you Sunday.
JIM ACOSTA, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT CNN: Happening now, breaking news, two thumbs down. After dooming the last Republican health care bill, Senator John McCain reveals that he's ready to vote no again.