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Woman Open Fires At YouTube Headquarters, Three Wounded, Shooter Dead; Some Labor Fighters Appear To Evacuate Douma Enclave; Trump Contradicts Top Officials On Syria Policy; Iran, Russia, And Turkey To Discuss How To Solve Crisis; Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.; Wrong Flag Flown At NYSE As Spotify Debuts; Straight Out Of Central Casting. Aired 3-4 ET
Aired April 4, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: Trump's headline-grabbing day, threatening to send troops to the border with Mexico and proclaiming nobody has been tougher on Russia than he has, and much more.
It's been a month since the poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter. We are live in Salisbury, England for an update on the investigation.
And CNN takes you inside Eastern Ghouta where Syrian rebel forces appear to leaving their enclave.
Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church and this is "CNN Newsroom."
Donald Trump says U.S. immigration laws are so weak, he wants to send American troops to guard the order with Mexico. It's just the latest tough talk from the president, who has become increasingly frustrated without his long-promised border wall. He also made a surprising claim about Russia. CNN's Jim Acosta reports.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Meeting with the leaders of the Baltic nations, countries that depend on U.S. leadership to stand firm against Russia, President Trump made a questionable claim, that he set the standard for toughness when it comes to Moscow.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Nobody has been tougher on Russia than I have, and you can -- and I know you're nodding yes cause everyone agrees when they think about it.
ACOSTA (voice over): The president pointed to his administration's decision to expel Russian diplomats, but it's still a difficult comparison for the president to make, not only because of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan's historic cold war confrontation with the Soviet Union.
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Tear down this wall!
ACOSTA (voice over): There is also the president's well-known reluctance to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Trump said he may still enjoy healthy relations with the Russians.
TRUMP: It's a real possibility that I could have a good relationship. And remember this. Getting along with Russia is a good thing. Getting along with China is a good thing. Getting along with other countries including your three countries is a good thing, not a bad thing.
So, I think I could have a very good relationship with Russia and with President Putin. And if I did that would be a great thing and there is also a great possibility that that won't happen. Who knows, OK?
ACOSTA (voice over): Mr. Trump then urged the president of Latvia to avoid the U.S. press.
TRUMP: You can pick a reporter, a Baltic reporter ideally. Real news, not fake news. Go ahead.
ACOSTA (voice over): Another comment that might please the Russians came when the president said he's ready to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, a decision that could bolster Moscow's position in Damascus.
TRUMP: It's time. It's time. We were very successful against ISIS. We'll be successful against anybody militarily. But, sometimes, it's time to come back home. And we're thinking about that very seriously.
ACOSTA (voice over): The president's remarks seemed to contradict what his own advisers are stressing, that the U.S. is staying in Syria to battle ISIS.
BRETT MCGURK, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ENVOY: In terms of our campaign in Syria, we are in Syria to fight ISIS. That is our mission. And the mission isn't over. And we're going to complete that mission.
ACOSTA (voice over): Then the president went back to an old campaign comment, that he wishes the U.S. had seized oil assets during the Iraq war.
TRUMP: I was always saying keep the oil. We didn't keep the oil. Who got the oil? ISIS got the oil. A lot of it. That's what funded their campaigns.
ACOSTA (voice over): Mr. Trump seems to have a new mission for the U.S. military, namely securing the border with Mexico, something the president insists must be done until he gets the wall he promised voters.
TRUMP: So what we are preparing for the military to secure our border between Mexico and the United States. We have a meeting on it in a little while with General Mattis and everybody. And I think that it's something we have to do. ACOSTA (voice over): Earlier in the day, the president went back to threatening economic pain on Amazon, the online retailer whose founder also owns The Washington Post.
TRUMP: Amazon is going to have to pay much more money to the post office. There is no doubt about that.
ACOSTA (voice over): And the president didn't exactly give a ringing endorsement to his EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, who is facing a slew of ethical questions.
TRUMP: I hope he's going to be great.
ACOSTA (on camera): The president didn't offer many details when it comes to these upcoming moves in Syria and on the border with Mexico. While the president says he wants to withdraw troops from Syria and send them to the border, his top aides have yet to explain what any of that exactly means or when it's going to happen. It may be worth to remind or recall that the president has often sounded off on policy shifts only to reverse himself later.
Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: CNN political analyst Ryan Lizza joins me now. Always good to have you with us.
RYAN LIZZA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, thank you.
CHURCH: As we just heard in Jim Acosta's report, President Trump confirmed his plan to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and send them to the U.S. border with Mexico.
[03:04:58] How is that being received by U.S. military brass, particularly as the fight with ISIS continues in Syria?
LIZZA: I don't think that's exactly how it will work. I mean, it would likely be the National Guard would help down on the Mexican border and there are previous examples of that. President Obama and President Bush both used the National Guard when there was difficult border situation.
But I think more worrying for some of the -- for some of America's allies in the Middle East is this sort of abrupt announcement about a pull out from Syria without the sort of typical policy planning and paving the way with allies such as Saudi Arabia and others who were not apparently prepared for this announcement.
Now to be fair, Donald Trump did run as a candidate who argued that the United States should not have troops all over the world. He was described as an isolationist often. Famously, Rosemary, last year he was brought to the Pentagon for a briefing from his generals to explain why the United States has troops in places such as Japan and South Korea and other spots around the world.
Why the United States is -- what they described as forward deployed. Trump doesn't really subscribe to that view. He wants a big expensive military, but he doesn't want it forward deployed, he wants it back in the United States. A lot of his advisers and the sort of typical foreign policy establishments generally is at odds with him on that issue.
CHURCH: Yes, it ruffled some feathers for sure. And while meeting with the Baltic leaders Tuesday, Mr. Trump claimed no one has been tougher on Russia than him. Is he right or is he wrong?
LIZZA: I think it's fair to say he's wrong about that, Rosemary. He has taken some actions, for resistance, after some resistance. He instituted some fairly tough economic sanctions that Congress passed. More recently, of course, he threw out, I believe the number was 60, Russian diplomats in response to the assassination -- attempted assassination in the U.K. that was pinned on the Russians.
That was a pretty dramatic action. But at the same time, he has apparently rewarded Vladimir Putin with a visit to the White House and the Kremlin recently leaked that that was -- or announced that that was discussed in a recent phone call.
And probably most dramatically is he has not done anything to prepare the United States for further either cyber warfare or propaganda campaigns that could impact our elections or impact other parts of our infrastructure.
He hasn't done anything, announced anything, put together a plan that is in response to what Russia did in 2015 and 2016 with the election meddling. And that probably has to do with his personal situation and the investigation that's ongoing into that.
But, that, you know, he has not been nearly as tough on Putin and on Russia as our other Democratic western allies have who see Putin as an autocrat, someone who has dismantled democracy in Russia. So, no, I don't believe he's been as tough on Russia as any president.
CHURCH: And still apparently fixated on a good relationship with Mr. Putin at the same time. Other headline generated by the president Tuesday was his continued attack on Amazon, tweeting that it was treating the U.S post office as a delivery boy. Now, we already saw investors send a clear message to the president Monday to leave Amazon alone, but he's either ignoring or defying that message. What's going on here? Is it about Amazon or is it about Jeff Bezos and The Washington Post?
LIZZA: Well, I think it's really about the latter. I think there is just no doubt that this is about Amazon's founder and CEO, who happens to own The Washington Post and The Washington Post is right now a very aggressive newspaper when it comes to reporting on Trump. Very influential newspaper. And Trump doesn't like it. And he's taking it out on Jeff Bezos's company. He -- there's a series of tweets, as you know, from the president and he got a lot of facts wrong. I mean one, Amazon does not own The Washington Post. Two, Amazon, contrary to what the president said, does not have a special deal with the post office, with some kind of below market rates.
[03:10:01] That's not -- that's not how it works. He also alleged that Amazon doesn't pay sales tax. That's not true either.
So, you know, I try -- this president is very unusual. There are a lot of norms that have been violated. And I always try my best not to be too alarmist, you know, based on every tweet. But this to me really crossed a line --
THERESA MAY, PRIME MINISTER OF UNITED KINGDOM: The government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): European leaders agreed, thus began a domino run of diplomatic fallout. The U.K. government moved to expel 23 Russian diplomats, 19 E.U. member states followed suit. But on Sunday, March 18th, while claiming victory in the Russian presidential election, Vladimir Putin denied Moscow's involvement.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA (through translator): Of course, I believe that any sensible person knows that it is total rubbish and nonsense for someone in Russia to allow themselves such behavior on the eve of a presidential election and World Cup in Russia. It is unthinkable.
BLACK (voice over): Europe presents with a united front, despite what many see as fractious Brexit negotiations.
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): The discussions on the nerve gas attack in Salisbury were very intense and marked by great solidarity by the British prime minister and the British people.
BLACK (voice over): And three days later, President Donald Trump delivered the toughest response, expelling 60 Russian diplomats from the United States. Nearly four weeks after the attack, doctors looking after Yulia Skripal announced her condition was improving and no longer critical.
Meanwhile, Russian officials waged a campaign of (INAUDIBLE). The Russian Embassy in the U.K. delivered tweets like these, suggesting witness in the investigation and Sergey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, even suggested the attack may have been carried out by British agents.
[03:15:00] SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): This might also be beneficial for the British government, which obviously found itself in an uneasy situation when they did not fulfill their promises to the electorate on the conditions of Brexit.
BLACK (voice over): Russia has so far reciprocated light to light (ph) in all diplomatic expulsions and closures. One month on, important questions remain, including how much further can relations deteriorate with an increasingly isolated Russia?
PHIL BLACK, CNN, London
CHURCH: And CNN producer Salma Abdelaziz joins me now from Salisbury in England. Selma, good to see you. The executive council of the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons meets next hour for a special closed-door session to discuss this nerve agent attack. What's expected to come out of that meeting?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, that's the key point there, it is a closed-door session. So, we are going to have difficulty understanding exactly what's happening behind those doors, but here's what we do know. Russia called for this meeting which is being held today. We know that the OPCW sent experts here to Salisbury just a couple of weeks ago.
They of course went to the home of the Skripals which is just near me here. They also went to other locations. They even collected blood samples from the Skripals themselves. At the time, which is round March 21st, when they did come. They said it would take two to three weeks to complete their analysis.
So today we're not expecting the results to be announced at the OPCW but rather potentially a question about procedures. We have all these different member states, obviously Russia raising up a storm, calling for this meeting.
What the OPCW will be trying to emphasize to all its members is that it is an impartial body, that it needs to carry out this investigation outside of this diplomatic crisis and all the push and pull from these different nations.
They need to be able to give clean and unbiased results to the international community as a whole and it's up to them from there as the international community to decide what to do with that next.
We do expect, however, that Russia may speak on this. It is Russia, of course, again, that called for this meeting, so we will have all eyes on the Hague and on Moscow in the next few hours as we wait for these responses. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Salma, let's talk about that. Because in just a few hours, Russia's foreign minister plans to hold a news conference. Sergey Lavrov has already blamed British agents for the attack and called on the western end what he calls childish expulsion game. So, what more might he say that presumably address whatever comes out of this meeting if anything does? ABDELAZIZ: In the last four weeks, what we really seen here is a war of words. You know, you just -- you just use that term childish expulsions. We've heard many terminologies like this used by President Putin, by Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, among others, using this type of terminology back and forth between these two countries.
What we can expect of course is that more of this will continue, that Russia will comment of course on the Skripals. We expect that they will talk about the OPCW meeting. And we expect them to continue this war of words. Now let's just take a look at what happened just in the last day.
We have of course President Putin who was in Ankara meeting with President Erdogan. He spoke on this issue, saying that he was surprised at how quickly the anti-Russian campaign spread. And he pointed to a statement from Porton Down.
That's the research facility that is just a few miles away from here, and they issued a statement yesterday saying that while they can use scientific evidence to identify what type of agent was used, the source of that agent is not part of their job.
Now this of course contradicted what Boris Johnson had said just two weeks ago to media, saying that he had spoken to someone at Porton Down and that they told him, quote, categorically that it was Russia. So really in this war of words, you're seeing that every single utterance from these officials matters, and it could later be pointed out if there are any contradictions, and that's why every single word will be hung on today in this press conference. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Indeed it will. Salma Abdelaziz, joining us there from Salisbury in England where it is nearly 8:20 in the morning. We thank you. We will take a short break here.
Still to come, another shooting in the United States. This one at YouTube's headquarters in California. Police say the suspected shooter is now dead. More details when we return.
Plus, another Trump cabinet member is accused of ethics violations and the accusations just keep mounting for environmental chief Scott Pruitt. The latest claims, when we come back.
[03:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Investigators are trying to figure out why a San Diego woman stormed into YouTube's headquarters in Northern California and open fired. But her brother told affiliate KGTV she had a problem with YouTube, and after she went missing, he called police to tell them she might do something.
They say Nasim Aghdam shot three people then apparently took her own life. And there is no evidence she knew the victims. One eyewitness told CNN he had stopped for lunch at a nearby restaurant when he heard gunfire and encountered one of the victims running away from YouTube's headquarters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First I heard, like, three to four shots. So I ran around the building. Went to go look. I encountered a girl running from the street to me. I grabbed her. I told the people inside the Carl Junior's to put her inside -- open the door, open the door, put her inside the building.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How was she coming out? She was coming out by herself?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By herself. Running. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was she saying anything?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I've been shot in the leg. I've been shot in the leg. The second time, I heard around 10 to 11 shots. And that person just got -- she shot that person really bad. No remorse. I mean it was death row.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Meantime, a Los Angeles Times police source says investigators are examining this website believed to be tied to Nasim Aghdam. The site contains complaints about YouTube filtering her channels and suppressing her videos. CNN is working to confirm the website is authentic.
Well, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in hot water after it was revealed he rented a room owned by the family of an energy lobbyist, and he's been under fire for a number of other possible ethics violations. CNN's Pamela Brown has the details.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Scott Pruitt, sir. Do you support Scott Pruitt?
TRUMP: I hope he's going to be great.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): President Trump stopping short of endorsing his EPA administrator Scott Pruitt today, who was just the latest cabinet member to be under fire.
SCOTT PRUITT, ADMINISTRATOR, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY: What an exciting day.
BROWN (voice over): Pruitt making carefully choreographed remarks at the EPA today, where he didn't take questions from reporters.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have the president's support?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was it a mistake to rent that apartment?
BROWN (voice over): Last week, CNN confirmed Pruitt was renting a condo for $50 a night connected to a prominent energy lobbyist whose firm represents companies under EPA regulation and the owners were political supporters of Pruitt when he was an Oklahoma state official.
And a series of new reporting raises more questions about the ethics of the rental. The New York Times is reporting the EPA approved the pipeline expansion of a Canadian energy company at the same time Pruitt was renting the condo owned by the lobbyist. The Times says that Canadian company is a client of the same lobbying firm.
Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse sending a letter to the EPA inspector general today, requesting an investigation into the circumstances of the rental. Pruitt was already under scrutiny for his first-class airfare, then on his around the clock security detail to accompany him and his family to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl in January. According to a senior White House official, the surge of bad headlines is upsetting the president.
[03:25:03] What could be even more upsetting to President Trump is a story first reported in The Atlantic about Pruitt aides who were given pay raises without approval from the presidential personnel office. And the source close to the White House tells CNN these troubling issues could cause Pruitt his job.
But according to another administration official, President Trump called Pruitt Monday night to express his support, telling him to keep his head up and keep fighting.
PRUITT: This president has shown tremendous courage to say to the American people that America is going to be put first.
BROWN (voice over): One of the reasons may be that Pruitt has fought for the president's agenda. Rolling back environmental regulations, he says, stifle business and innovation. He also supported the president's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. Continuing that deregulation trend today, Pruitt announcing the EPA will scale back vehicle emission standards.
PRUITT: This is another step in the president's regulatory agenda, deregulatory agenda, regulatory certainty. And I think this midterm evaluation, the auto sector, the importance of auto manufacturing to this country, the president again is saying America is going to be put first. We have nothing to be apologetic about.
CHURCH: CNN's Pamela Brown, reporting there from Washington.
Well, despite his campaign promise to drain the swamp in Washington, Donald Trump's cabinet has seen its share of ethics complaints. Health Secretary Tom Price was sacked last year for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on private transportation.
Veterans Secretary David Shulkin was fired last week, also accused of misusing travel privileges. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke also face alleged travel violations. And Housing Secretary Ben Carson is under fire for spending $31,000 on a new dining set. All public money. The Syrian regime could soon secure another victory as government forces appear to be evacuating a key rebel enclave. A CNN report from Eastern Ghouta coming up in just a moment.
And Britain's Prince Philip is in the hospital. We will go live to London for the very latest on that. Back in a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we're following this hour.
Donald Trump says he wants U.S. troops to guard the border with Mexico at least until he can build a wall. The president also says he wants to bring U.S. forces home from Syria, despite plans from top military officials to increase the number of troops deployed there.
[03:30:00] A San Diego woman opened fire at YouTube's headquarters in Northern California, shooting three people and then apparently taking her own life. Police say there is no evidence the shooter identified as Nasim Aghdam, knew her victims. And L.A. Times police source now says investigators are examining these website believe to be tied to Aghdam. It includes grievances against YouTube.
France is facing a second day of travel chaos as rail workers are planning to continue strikes in a few hours. It's the biggest challenge yet to President Emmanuel Macron and his ability to implement labor reforms. Well, workers are planning three months of rolling walkouts.
The Syrian regime could soon secure victory over the last rebel enclave near Damascus. Some members of the most powerful rebel group in Douma appear to be evacuating. Right now, CNN is inside the war zone country and our Fred Pleitgen has more from Eastern Ghouta.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: We're at the final entry checkpoint to Douma, which is the last rebel enclave on the eastern outskirts of Damascus. Now, what we've been seeing here is several busses with what we believe to be rebel fighters exiting this area. Now most of those fighters in the past couple of days have been bussed to other locations, mostly in the north of Syria.
The groups that we saw, we're not sure which rebel group they were from and also we're not sure where they were being taken, but in the past couple of weeks, the rebels have lost a considerable amount of territory here on the eastern outskirts of Damascus. They used to hold a gigantic area, but after extremely heavy fighting, tens of thousands of civilians fled this area and then also thousands of fighters were bussed out as well.
Now with the rebels only holding one small enclave, many believe that a deal will be reached soon for those rebels to go outs well. So far it is unclear when exactly that is going to happen, but there do seem to be people here in Damascus who think it will be very soon. In fact, we spoke to people who came here to this checkpoint and said that they had relatives who were kidnapped by the rebels, some of them for years, whom they hoped they would come out soon. Here is what one woman said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): I depend on God, she says. This is my only hope. I will wait here as longer as it takes for my father to come out.
Now, the deal to try to get the last rebel group here in this part of Damascus called the Jaysh al-Islam to give up is being negotiated mostly by the Russians, and it certainly seems as though the government of Syria believes that deal will happen soon. In fact, there are already dozens of busses waiting here outside the Douma District, ready to take those fighters to the North of Syria, which essentially would mean that the rebels would no longer hold any sort of significant territory in or outside the Syrian capital. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Eastern Ghouta, Syria.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Gul Tuysuz joins us now from Ankara. Gul, just 24 hours ago you and I were talking about an issue raised by the President. Now we're hearing Mr. Trump reiterate his desire to pull U.S. troops out of Syria. He says it's time to get out, but his special envoy for Syria doesn't agree, along with other military experts. They insist the mission is not over yet and the U.S. troops need to stay put. So what impact do mixed military messages like this have on the region and more specifically on the fight against ISIS?
GUL TUYSUZ, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Rosemary, the mixed messages help no one in the region. It's already a very complicated region, and in the case of in particular Syria, it's a very chaotic battlefield. And to hear these kinds of conflicting reports coming from the White House versus the U.S. military is something that just adds to the confusion. It creates a level of ambiguity in an already very complicated place, it raises a lot of questions.
What happens to the U.S.'s main allies on the ground? The predominantly Kurdish force that has been key in the battle militarily against ISIS. What happens to them if the U.S. does in fact, pull its troops out? Here in Ankara where we are, there had been negotiations with Washington over what the future of that enclave should look like, but given that there is - seems to be no unanimity in coming from Washington over whether or not -- over something as simple as whether or not the U.S. will maintain its troops in the region is something that, again, raises eyebrows and says, well, what is the coherent strategy that the U.S. has vis-a-vis Syria?
And another point in all of this the fact that the more conflicting messages that come from Washington, the more and more ground that Russia gains in the region and in particular in Syria. It cedes the ground to Russia as the main power broker and the main player in this region, and what the -- what that means for this region is something that we're going to have to watch to see as it develops, because Russia's presence and dominant in the region will change significantly what's occurring in the battlefield and what the future for Syria will hold, Rosemary.
[03:35:18] CHURCH: Well, let's talk about that point, because, of course, the leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran will meet for talks in Ankara to discuss a resolution to the war in Syria. No doubt they are thrilled to hear the U.S. may withdraw its troops. What will likely come out of these trilateral talks?
TUYSUZ: Well, one of the key components missing from, of course, these trilateral talks between Russia, Iran and Turkey, as you notice, Rosemary, I didn't say Syria. There aren't any Syrians being represented in the trilateral talks. So, what can these three countries come together and try to impose on Syria is something that we've been watching for.
Today is supposed to be about finding a political solution going forward for Syria. These three countries are not on the same side, mind you. Russia and Iran continue to support the status quo in Syria, backing the President Bashar al Assad. On the other side you have Turkey, which sponsors basically the rebel movement in Syria, but the three of them can come together on one area of agreement that they have, which is the idea of Syria's territorial integrity.
But whether or not that will actually be enough to forge through some sort of political solution, so that the chaos and the brutality of the Syrian Civil War can come to an end is something we just don't know at this point and fundamentally there is a very big issue here, which is that these three countries may not have the will to make what they want happen in Syria, when it comes to it, Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to Gul Tuysuz, for joining us there from Ankara we are just after 10:30 in the morning. We thank you for your live report.
Well, President Trump says no one has been tougher on Russia than he has, but he refused to say Tuesday whether Vladimir Putin is a friend or foe of the United States. We may get a clearer answer should the Russian President come calling at the White House. CNN's Brian Todd reports.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: An arrival suitable for strong men. In Ankara, Vladimir Putin is greeted by Turkish President Recep Erdogan. There are enough questions about whether Putin will soon be welcomed at the White House by President Trump. A White House official telling CNN, the President casually invited Putin to the White House during a recent phone conversation. Both sides say no formal preparations are underway, but analysts believe Putin would want a meeting.
MATTHEW ROJANSKY, KENNAN INSTITUTE WOODROW WILSON CENTER: I think for Putin himself, the idea of meeting with the top dog is always important. It's a status thing.
TODD: It could be a tense meeting fraught with potential pitfalls for President Trump. The U.S. and Britain have been in a diplomatic battle with Putin, with dozens of diplomats expelled from all three countries after Moscow was blamed for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. On Tuesday, Trump, often accused of being soft on Putin was on the defensive.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Probably nobody has been tougher to Russia than Donald Trump.
TODD: The last time a top Russian official was in the Oval Office, May 2017, when Russian ambassador, Sergei Kislyak, visited Trump the day after Trump fired FBI Director, James Comey. Kislyak is still a central character in the Russia investigation. Now analysts warn that the former KGB colonel in the Kremlin, who hasn't been to the White House since 2005 could try to manipulate Trump the next time they meet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He focuses on the weaknesses of the leader and exploits those weaknesses. President Putin will clearly want to appear very sympathetic to President Trump and support his view of dialogue and engagement, of making deals on Syria and Ukraine, but while also making sure that he is strengthening divisions between Congress and the White House.
TODD: Putin is a master at playing mind games during these meetings. From his own imposing body language to making his counterpart cringe. In 2007, knowing German Chancellor Angela Merkel was terrified of dogs, Putin brought his huge black Labrador Connie into the room. Putin smirked. Merkel put on a brave face.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She did not blink, because she understands the Russian mindset. She knows that the Russians, and in this case Vladimir Putin, wanted to play Russian chess with her, which means the person who blinks the first has lost.
TODD: But despite the risk and the tension, some analysts say it's always important for the American and Russian Presidents to meet.
ROJANSKY: Russia is the only country on earth that in under an hour has the ability to end life as we know with United States. That is a national security concern of the highest order and what that means is you have to be willing to constantly engage with the Russians.
[03:40:03] TODD: A key question now is whether some incoming members of President Trump's national security team can get him to take a tougher line on the Russians. Incoming National Security Adviser, John Bolton, is considered hawkish regarding Russia, advocating retaliation for some of the Russians more subversive activities. Some many are watching to see whether Bolton can persuade President Trump to take a tougher line on Vladimir Putin. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
CHURCH: Britain's Prince Philip is in a London hospital for planned surgery on his hip. The 96-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth recently retired from public duties and did not attend Easter services with the royal family this past weekend. Our Max Foster is live outside the hospital. He joins us now. So, Max, what are you hearing about the current health of Prince Phillip as he prepares for this planned surgery and what are his doctors saying about it?
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you say, it's planned surgery. They're telling us very little, we don't know what sort of surgery apart that it is on his hip. He is due to have an operation today. I don't think the palace is overly concerned about the situation, but obviously any sort of surgery carries with it risks. The old, you get, the more risk will be associated with it.
He is 96 years old, as you said, Rosemary, so lots of eyes and ears on this event to see how he recovers. I think a large part of it will be not necessarily the surgery itself, but how he recovers, because if it is a hip operation, for example, they'll have to monitor him for a few days. And at that age can be quite difficult to recover from these things.
CHURCH: Yes. Recovery is certainly key. Our Max Foster joining us there from outside the front of the hospital. We appreciate that update.
Well, remembering a man who changed America 50 years after his assassination. A legacy that inspires even now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LEWIS, U.S. HOUSE DEMOCRAT AND CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years later will be proud of the progress that we've made, but he would be disappointed that we have not made more progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Some of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s children and other civil rights leader have gathered in Memphis to remember the civil rights icon. Today is the 50th anniversary of his assassination. One day before he was killed, Reverend King gave his famous "I've been to the mountaintop speech," the last one, he would ever give. He was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers. A half century later, his prophetic words still ring true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: While I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficulties ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. I don't mind.
[03:45:00] Like anybody, I would like to live a long life, longevity has its place, but I'm not concerned about that now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: U.S. Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis was not in Memphis when Martin Luther King Jr. was killed 50 years ago today. His role came in the days, the weeks, and the years after the assassination. Our Robyn Curnow sat down with Congressman Lewis to talk about how Dr. King's legacy lives on.
LEWIS: We are sitting here in the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. I was here with Senator Robert Kennedy, and led the Senator and his family into the church, late the night before his funeral to view his body.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You were with Robert Kennedy, I understand when you heard the news that he had been shot.
LEWIS: I was with Senator Robert Kennedy in Indianapolis, Indiana, campaigning with him. But we heard that Dr. Martin King had been shot, and there was some discussion about whether Robert Kennedy should come to speak. And I said he had to come and speak. And he came and spoke.
ROBERT KENNEDY, FORMER SENATOR: I have some very sad news for all of you and people who love peace all over the world. And that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.
LEWIS: It was unbelievable, unreal. I loved and admired Martin Luther King Jr. If it hasn't been for Dr. King, I don't know what would have happened to many of us, but Dr. King that we gave up. He never lost hope. He kept the faith and he kept his eyes on the prize. He believed that we could redeem the soul of America and create what he called a beloved community.
CURNOW: Now 50 years on?
LEWIS: Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years later will be proud of the progress that we've made, but he would be disappointed that we have not made war progress.
CURNOW: What about Mr. Trump's America?
LEWIS: Martin Luther King Jr. would be very, very disappointed in Mr. Trump's America. He was not -- he would say, this is not the America that I left u. This is not the America that we need today. He would have said, Mr. Trump, America is trying to take us backward rather than forward.
If Martin Luther King Jr. were with us today, his spirit is with us, but if he was with us in body today, he would be part of the march. He would be out there rejoicing and leading the March with the children. That is what he is telling us today. He is saying that you must continue. You must continue to march. When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to access something or to do something.
CURNOW: You spoke about good trouble, but it's important to make good trouble for change. LEWIS: Well, Dr. King taught us how to make good trouble. Necessary
trouble. How to get in trouble.
CURNOW: For the right reasons.
LEWIS: For the right and good reason.
CHURCH: Well, the U.S. has fired off the next salvo in the looming trade war with China. The Trump administration published a list of 1,300 Chinese exports it could target with tariff. They focus on China's aerospace industry, its high-tech and machinery as wells as medical equipment, medicine and educational material such as book binding equipment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (TRANSLATOR): What the United States has done is in total ignorance of the essence of the mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation in trade between China and the United States over the past four decades. In total defiance of the voices of the industries of the two countries and in total disregard of the interests of consumers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The U.S. says it's in retaliation for China's theft of trade secrets, including software, patents and technology.
Spotify has joined the list of companies trading on the New York stock exchange. The streaming music service is worth nearly $30 billion and opened just above $165 a share on Tuesday. Our Richard Quest had a front row seat in New York to see all the action.
RICHARD QUEST, EDITOR AT LARGE: Our economists say, maybe not since Alibaba and all the couple of others, you know, do you get this large number of floor brokers all waiting to find out the open price.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an event, I mean, this is certainly, if you talk about the marketing value of a company coming to the public markets, the fact that our market model shines during the price discovery process.
[03:50:05] This will be the latest opening of an IPO in -- that they can remember as far as they know, essentially, it's a free port.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look, there is nothing like an IPO and this is a listing, so it's a little different. And everybody's there. It's been an auction going on for the last hour and a half for hours later, maybe now.
QUEST: Stay with me. How long do you think it's got go? Any idea? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tremendous IPO. That is in the face of what's
going on in technology right now. This isn't the biggest tech IPO of the year and, you know, it's being so well-received in the marketplace.
QUEST: Nobody real knows when this is going to actually happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Getting close.
QUEST: Getting close? Getting close is the word, it's getting close.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's getting close.
QUEST: What you are seeing today is a market performing to almost absolute perfection.
Oh -- now he says his range, he's tightened the range to 169 or whatever --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 69 and a half.
QUEST: 69 and a half. And he says if that holds, he is going to open it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right, this is breaking new ground, Richard, literally as we speak.
QUEST: Let's get in. Let's get in, go, basically what the guy in the middle -- oh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go. Go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There you go.
QUEST: Spotify looks like it is about to open.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There it is.
QUEST: He probably feels like he is just rambunctious, it was torturous, it was long-winded, plus, it is enable the most perfect to price transparency. Every market participant was able to take and be involved and to see the way that doesn't make the market makeup brought the price closer to close there.
CHURCH: Richard Quest reporting there.
And there was a red flag at the start of Spotify's day. Quite literally, in fact. The stock exchange put up the Swiss flag to welcome Spotify to New York, but it got the wrong country. Spotify is Swedish. Staff fixed the error and tried to poke fun at themselves, saying it was a momentary aid to our neutrality in the process of price discovery.
When it comes to picking his administration, looks do matter. Just ahead, how Donald Trump is assembling a telegenic staff at the White House. Back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: Long before (inaudible) hit the big screen with slick special effects, T.V.'s "Wonder Woman" inspires the little girls of the 1970's. And with her arms crossed for battle, "Wonder Woman" has now captured her star on the Hollywood's Walk of Fame. At 66 Linda Carter showed her fan she still got superhero form. Carter, starred as "Wonder Woman" and her alter ego Dianna Prince for just three seasons on American television starting in 1976, but she made her mark.
Donald Trump has been called the reality show President. He seems obsessed with crowd size and ratings and when he is looking for people to fill his administration, how someone looks as a prime consideration. Here is Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When the President is casting around for appointees, where does he look.
TRUMP: This is a central casting. If I am doing a movie, I pick you general.
MOOS: From Secretary of Defense Mattis to his pick at the White House doctor for Veterans Affairs.
TRUMP: He's like central casting on a movie camera, as a Hollywood star.
[03:55:00] MOOS: President Trump looks at looks even in opposition candidates.
TRUMP: I hear his nice looking. I think I'm better looking than him. I do.
MOOS: The look. The President thought Rex Tillerson and Mitt Romney had it, but John Bolton's mustache was apparently too much in his face.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Easy fella.
MOOS: Until the President changed his mind and decided he could live with it. President Trump also had a change of heart when he first announced he would hire a husband/wife attorney team then decided they had too many legal conflicts, plus the President was turned off, because they look disheveled when they came to meet with him, according to Politico. He is even complained about Hillary.
TRUMP: I just don't think she has a presidential look.
MOOS: When it comes to a Vice Presidential look -- TRUMP: The primary reason I wanted Mike, other than he looks very
MOOS: Maybe the President is taking advice from Seinfeld.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want to make a person feel better after they sneeze, you shouldn't say, god bless say, you just say, you're so good looking.
MOOS: The President jokes about his own looks.
TRUMP: But they showed me, young, handsome. I said, why couldn't I look like today?
MOOS: And he flattered his new Economic Adviser plucked from a job on CNBC.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said, you're -- you are on the air. And he said, looking at a picture of you and he said, very handsome. So Trumpier.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Next week he is replacing Jeff Sessions with Matlock.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He sees on TV.
MOOS: He is seen lot of Stormy Daniels on TV lately, but "The Washington Post" reports, the president even has griped to several people that Daniels is not the type of woman he finds attractive. His smile suggest otherwise. Jeanne Moos, CNN --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are so good looking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
MOOS: New York.
CHURCH: And finally this hour, here is a good lesson on why you should always check what's lying around the house. A Director of an art complex was poking through his gallery's closet when he stumbled across an old painting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was a little surprise, because it's a wood panel painting. I didn't really know much about it, but until I looked at the back of it and I could see the webbing. The contents of the front was so badly damage and there were water stains on it. In a room filled with junk, I had no idea that it was as valuable as it turned out to be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And valuable it was. The painting is the work of 16th century Dutch master Otto van Veen and it's likely worth more than $4 million. Check your attics and closet people. Well, thanks for your company this hour. I'm Rosemary Church. Remember to connect with me any time on Twitter. And the news continues now with Hannah Vaughan Jones in London. You're watching CNN. Have a great day.