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Trump Reignites Attacks On The Late Senator John McCain; Acting White House Chief of Staff: Trump Is Not A White Supremacist; Joe Biden Almost Announces He's Running For President; Senator Gillibrand Officially Announces Presidential Run; Growing Criticism of Trump's Response To Mosque Shootings; North Korea Threatens To End Us Talks And Restart Nuclear Tests; Man Arrested In Death Of New York Mob Boss. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired March 17, 2019 - 15:00   ET


[15:00:00] RICHARD QUEST, CNN EDITOR AT LARGE: What we now understand is what people had suspected. He said that there are certain similarities between the Lion Air crash back in October and the Ethiopian crash earlier this month.

Now, what those similarities were he didn't say or didn't go further. He said that more details would be given in the preliminary report which is to be presented in 30 days. Now, it is an international treaty requirement and the so-called Annex 13 for the investigating authority in this case the Ethiopians to produce such a report.

The prelim report is usually quite simple. It gives you some very basic facts about what happened to the flight, what they know about it. But it also gives you a window into what the investigators believed might be the cause or the areas they're looking at.

So, Fredericka, most certainly tonight we're talking about the similarities, and by that I'm assuming those similarities are the pitch of the aircraft and the altitude variations that took place and the speed of both flights. The Ethiopia flight failed to gain speed, very similarly to the other one. We'll wait for the details but it is an important development.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: So then, Richard, does this raise more questions about why Boeing or the FAA or, you know, the equivalency abroad, you know, didn't ground this airline sooner just as a precaution?

QUEST: Yes, absolutely. Now, the FAA said back earlier in the week when they weren't grounding there was no data. There was no hard data upon which they had reason to ground. But that's simply not true. The coincidence and similarities alone were reason enough for the British, the Germans, the Australians, the Chinese, the list goes on and on. All these other organizations found the mere similarities alone without further evidential data to ban the plane.

The FAA chose in those circumstances to take a purely data driven approach. And they boasted about it in their announcements. Well, there will be those who will say, no, they should have taken a common sense approach and there was sufficient evidence for many reputable organizations to ban and to ground the planes, and the FAA should have been more open to the prospect of the similarity.

WHITFIELD: Making way for the use negligence might be used in any kind of legal challenges that may be upcoming. You don't think so?

QUEST: No. No, I wouldn't say -- I wouldn't necessarily say negligence because they have a duty and it's arguably I think just common sense. The FAA -- it's difficult to understand, Fredricka, why the FAA was so stubborn in sticking to their position when everybody else was saying the opposite. That of course will be the issue.

WHITFIELD: We shall see, all right. Richard guest, thank you so much.

All right, turning now to politics. The White House is doing damage control after President Trump's response to the massacre in New Zealand. 50 people murdered by a man promoting white nationalist ideas. Despite that deadly attack, President Trump still claiming the threat from white nationalism is not on the rise. Now his acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney coming to the President's defense.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: The President is absolutely briefed on all of the threats, most domestic and international. But I want to push back against this idea that every time something bad happens everywhere around the world, folks who don't like Donald Trump seem to blame it on Donald Trump.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: To the degree there is an issue with white supremacist, white nationalists, anti-Muslim bigotry in this country, and there is an issue with that, why not deliver a speech condemning it?

MULVANEY: Right. You've seen the President stand up for religious liberties, individual liberty. The President is not a white supremacist. I'm not sure how many times we have to say that.


WHITFIELD: All of this happening while the President's focus, according to his Twitter feed, is somewhere else. He's taking aim at the late Senator John McCain just months after his death for his ties to the controversial Russian dossier on Trump and McCain's notable thumb's done vote on repealing Obamacare.

CNN White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez with me now. So let's start with Mick Mulvaney comments today. It is remarkable that the acting Chief of Staff feels he needs to explicitly say the President is not a white supremacist.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred. Mulvaney was clearly annoyed by the question. It is one that has frequently plagued the White House. The criticism with the President is receiving for his response to the massacre in New Zealand is essentially for two reasons.

[15:05:00] First, the President said he did not believe that white supremacy was a growing problem around the world when there is in fact evidence to the contrary. And secondly, the President did not condemn Islamophobia by name. Many felt his condemnation didn't go far enough and some like Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan believe the President should use his platform to really drive the idea of tolerance around the world. Listen.


REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D), MICHIGAN: There is real data and information currently right now of the rise of white supremacy, right here in this United States of America. He needs to look at the data, and the information, and the facts, and actually listen and understand the tremendous responsibility he has in being our president, our leader of our country.

He cannot just say it is a small group of people. There is too many deaths. Not only from the synagogue to the black churches, to the temples and now the mosques. We need to be stepping up against this, and it has to start with him.


SANCHEZ: The White House has pushed back previously saying that the President's response was adequate. Just for perspective though, Fred, I do want to point out the President has tweeted about the attack in New Zealand twice. In contrast, he's tweeted out three times today about a Fox News host who got in trouble last week for some of her rhetoric about Islam. Fred?

WHITFIELD: And then, Boris, what's behind the President going after the late Senator John McCain on Twitter today?

SANCHEZ: Right. Well, John McCain was actually one of the first Americans to look at the Steele Dossier, that salacious compilation of information, some of which has actually been verified that was collected during the 2016 election. The President frequently refers to it. He claims the Russia investigation was launched because of this dossier, which is debatable at the very least.

But the President went after John McCain. McCain has denied that he shared that with journalists. But we recently learned that one of his aides had shared it with BuzzFeed news. That's something that some stay is a stain on the late senator's reputation, on his legacy, including Ken Starr, the former investigator. Listen to what he said to Fox News.


ABBY HUNTSMAN, FOX NEWS HOST: But he said that he didn't have anything to do with passing on the dossier to the FBI. And yet now we know he did.

KEN STARR, FORMER INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: Deeply disappointing. Well, we'll see. That's what the evidence shows. You know, I want to keep saying don't rush to judgment but that's what the evidence has to show and I'm just saying I'm very, very saddened by this. But John McCain was an American hero who did so much for the country, but this is unfortunately a very dark stain.


SANCHEZ: Well, the President, who has previously said that John McCain is not a war hero, took the opportunity to revisit this old spat between the two of them. Look at what he tweeted. He writes, "Spreading the fake and totally discredited dossier is unfortunately a very dark stain against John McCain." He's, of course, quoting Ken Starr, former independent counsel.

He then goes on to say this. "He had far worse stains than this, including thumb's down on repeal and replace after years of campaigning to repeal and replace. The President still upset after John McCain voted against a thin repeal and replace that Republicans tried to put out a couple years ago.

Here's what Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late senator tweeted out about President Trump. He writes, "No one will ever love you the way they loved my father. I wish I had been given more Saturdays with him. Maybe spend yours with your family instead of on Twitter obsessing over mine." The President has not responded to Meghan McCain but it's clear even after the late senator passed away seven months ago, he still harbors some resentment toward the senator from Arizona, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Boris Sanchez at the White House, thank you so much. All right.

Let's talk further on this. Joining me right now Republican Strategist and former Communications Director for Ted Cruz, Alice Stewart and former Director for Nixon Presidential Librarian, CNN's Presidential Historian Tim Naftali, good to see you both.

Alice, why doesn't the president speak for himself? Why have the acting chief of staff go out, as he did today, trying to explain?


WHITFIELD: All right. So, Alice, you know, why doesn't the President speak for himself? Why have the acting Chief of Staff go out as he did today, trying to explain?

STEWART: It's not unusual to have Chief of Staff and members of your cabinet go out and speak. The problem is any time you are on defense, you are losing. And unfortunately that's what it appears happened today. I think it's important, though, to really take note of what Mulvaney did say.

Look, it's quite clear in this instance and many other times we have terrorist attacks or terrorist incidents, there are two people responsible for these vicious acts of violence, the perpetrator and the devil. And that is exactly the case here. Those are the people responsible here.

Unfortunately, oftentimes we have people --

WHITFIELD: But it's not necessarily asking the President who is responsible, but asking the President to elaborate further on his sentiment that he doesn't agree with the rise in national, you know, in white nationalism.

[15:10:02] He's disputing, you know, the facts, the statistics, the data. And, you know, his Chief of Staff instead of answering the question about why the President doesn't take and use his platform as, you know, the world's most powerful leader that instead, you know, he is unwilling to show that kind of compassion or, you know, he is just not going far enough.

STEWART: Right, Fred. And I believe there is going to be people that are critics of this President and many on the left that say that the President can never do enough. He can never say the right thing. He can never hit the right tone when it comes to a situation like this.

And let's be clear, the President has offered his thoughts and prayers to the people of New Zealand. He has spoken with the prime minister. He has offered US aid in any way, shape or form that we can provide to them. He has denounced --

WHITFIELD: But there's an omission to show sympathy to the Muslim community.

STEWART: Look, as I said, the President has denounced access of hate. He has denounced words that are racist, that are insensitive time and time again. And oftentimes it's simply not enough. I think the President has made it quite clear where he stands on this. Mulvaney reiterated those positions today.

And if and when the President may need to speak up further and there was some talk about possibility giving a speech directed just on this, if the President feels that's necessary, I'm sure he will do so. But right now all we can certainly do is offer our prayers and sympathy, and offer any US aid that we possibly can.

WHITFIELD: So, Tim, as a presidential historian, you know, is the criticism fair? The President doesn't seem to go, you know, far enough. He stopped short when especially when there are instances relating to hate, racism, you know, xenophobia.

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, I think there are two different but complimentary issues. The first is the President's vision of the Trumpist Party is a big tent party that seems to 4chan friends. It seems to include people, not necessarily I would hope would not go and kill, but there are kind of people who respond, would respond to some of the ideas in the manifesto that the New Zealand shooter issued. So there is that problem. And really you want to ask yourself, should the Republican Party include under its tent those kinds of people with those kinds of ideas.

The second issue is the President uses rhetoric. As president of the United States that makes Islamophobia more tolerable for many people. After all, push for a Muslim ban. If you look at this tweets, he discredits the Muslim religion by not -- distinguishing between Islam and Islamist. He consistently sends messages that less sensitive, less stable minds might see as triggers.

So I think the President has to understand he has an international obligation. We used to be a moral leader. We were flawed, yes. But the president of the United States has an enormous platform. We used to use it to talk about human rights.

Right now we have a president who is sending signals that could be interpreted by unstable minds as somehow legimating Islamophobia. That's what I think this president has to talk about. He doesn't -- he's not responsible for the deaths in New Zealand, but he could help clarify the environment. So that people --

WHITFIELD: By having his Chief of Staff do that on his behalf?

NAFTALI: And then -- the Chief of Staff is not enough for that. He has to do it.

WHITFIELD: And so listen to what Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said on CNN this morning about her colleague, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.


TLAIB: When I think to myself and pause, as a person that run this racial justice campaign for years, who grew up in the most beautiful blackest city in the country, in the city of Detroit. I mean, I pause and think to myself is it because she's a black American and she's Muslim? And so, that's where I pause and say to myself, is there an issue here?

And I guess our mere presence there, the fact that now there's not only one but now three Muslim American serving in Congress, that our mere presence is going to be able to possibly break down any of these kinds of racialized, you know, opinions, this kind of Islamophobia that I do feel, like still very present on both sides of the aisle. And I think my colleagues are not seeing that as an attack, as just saying that we just have a lot of work to do.


WHITFIELD: And so, Alice, you know, she has said that she has received a lot of death threats. Omar has received a lot of death threats, you know, particularly in this climate right now. So does she make a strong point in your view that there should be more leadership, you know, coming from the White House particularly on this issue?

STEWART: Look, I think we are in a climate and in a time in our nation where the rhetoric needs to be toned down across the board. We need to be more sympathetic to people.

[15:15:05] WHITFIELD: Well, does it begin with the presidency? Does it begin with this President? That is the question. STEWART: The tone of the political discourse, yes, Fred. It starts at the top, and it should trickle down. But that being said, this President, in my view, is doing what he can in this specific situation to show sympathy in this most recent situation. I am encouraged by the fact that we do have more Muslims represented in Washington and in hearing their viewpoints and hearing their needs is important.

But unfortunately, they are not the only ones that are targets of attacks. There are Republicans and Conservatives and Democrats, there are people from all walks of life and all political persuasions, and all faith that are unfortunately targets of death threats because of the heightened rhetoric we have in this country. And that across the board needs to be stopped. And that goes for people of office.

WHITFIELD: But to you point, isn't that the challenge? Isn't the White House and the President being challenged with the responsibility? Is it incumbent upon him to help set the tone, to help redirect where, you know, there is this bubbling up of sentiments being displayed in different ways leading to death threats, et cetera, that there's an expectation that the President should help calm people down, send a strong message, and is that happening, Alice, right now from the President?

STEWART: Fred, we can all work on this together. Look, I'll be the first one to say that there's a lot of words and phrases, and rhetoric that this President used that I have been on your program many times and said that I have a problem with. But at the end of the day, yes, he can certainly begin the conversation. But it's incumbent upon all of us to engage in a more peaceful tone and rhetoric that can help address a lot of these issues that we're talking about.

WHITFIELD: All right. Real quick, Tim, only because I see you shaking your head.

NAFTALI: No. Just I think the President is using these tropes and it's the President who should be changing the climate. He is the one who started this. His campaign was based on dehumanizing people, migrants and immigrants. He is the one who has given rise to a level of rhetoric that we haven't seen from a president or presidential candidate before. He could dial it back.

Of course, on the left the left can dial back certain things. But let's not forget where this started and who is now in the Oval Office. He has enormous power and he has enormous possibility of persuading others. He should use it.

WHITFIELD: We'll leave it there. Tim Naftali, Alice Stewart, thanks so much to both of you. Appreciate it.

NAFTALI: Thank you.

STEWART: Thanks, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead in the news room.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, FOER VICE PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I'm the most progressive record of anybody running for the United -- anybody who would run.


WHITFIELD: For anyone running -- for anyone who would run. Did Joe Biden accidentally reveal his plans to run for the White House? The verbal gaffe that drew massive cheers straight ahead.


[15:22:05] WHITFIELD: And welcome back. New today the Democratic field for president just got bigger. New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand jumps into the 2020 race.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need a leader who makes --





SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT: Someone who isn't afraid of progress. That's why I'm running for president.


WHITFIELD: Gillibrand's announcement pushes the crowded field of Democratic hopefuls to an even dozen. Several of those candidates are out on the campaign trail today. And Gillibrand may not be the last Democrat to throw her hat into the rink as former Vice President Joe Biden almost announced he's running.


BIDEN: I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the -- of anybody who would run.


WHITFIELD: So let's begin with that slip of the tongue, or was it? That may have revealed Joe Biden's plans to run for president.

CNN's Arlette Saenz joining us right now. So, Arlette, good to see you. So did the former vice president, you know, let the cat out of the bag, or was that intentional, unintentional, what?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Fred, with Joe Biden you never know what's on purpose and what's just a little bit of an accident. But he's certainly leaving a lot of hints and clues along the way. And as of now, all signs seemed to be pointing towards him launching a presidential campaign.

His friends have said that he's indicated it's all but certain he would run. And last night in front of that friend Delaware crowd, his home state, he kind of offered a bit of a preview of what a campaign message could look like. He talked about things in terms of a battle for the soul of America and said that Americans should focus on consensus building rather than division. Joe Biden also talked a little bit about the places that he's traveled to over the past two years during the midterm elections. Take a listen to what he had to say.


BIDEN: I'm the only white boy that gets to go to Alabama as a Democrat and campaign, really. When I was up in Montana, where the President one by a 30, 40 point plurality, one of the traditional, Democratic areas. They all were looking for the same thing. I'll say it again, despite our problems, I have to tell you, I'm more optimistic about the prospects of our nation today than I was when you elected me as a 29-year-old kid to the United States Senate. There is no reason why the 21st century will not be the American century.


SAENZ: So Biden there reminding voters of some of the places that he's gone to where he could be appealing as a Democrat. He also showed a direct willingness to take on President Trump. And one thing that he noted, he argued that Trump has turned his back on voters that he said he was going to look out for. And he specifically pointed to states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. Those are areas of the country where Biden's allies really think he could bring those states back to the blue column.

[15:25:04] As of now we're still waiting for that potential announcement. But those close to the vice president say that could come as close as April. Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Arlette Saenz, thanks so much for that. All right.

Let's turn now to the latest Democratic candidate who did officially announce a run for president, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand marking her presidential bid by taking plenty of shots at President Trump directly. CNN Athena Jones joining us with more on that.

What more can you tell us about her announcement?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fred. Well, that's something that's very interesting here. Kirsten Gillibrand ever since she announced her exploratory run back in January, she has been visiting some of the early states, introducing herself to voters and describing herself or portraying herself as a fearless, courageous fighter who is willing to do what it takes, fight for what's right, even if it's difficult.

She's also been talking about her ability to appeal to voters across party lines, rural voters as well as urban voters and talked about the kinds of rural counties. Like in Upstate New York, she's visiting rural counties in states like Iowa, her first, sewing through Iowa. She was in a rural area on the western edge of the state. This week she's going to be back in Iowa visiting several counties on the eastern edge of the state, counties that Barack Obama won but that Trump didn't flipped.

So it's not surprising to see her kind of trying to generate some buzz for her race and for her run by taking this fight directly to Trump, by talking about how brave she is, and by saying what brave isn't. It's very clear she is talking about the President when she says brave doesn't spread hate, doesn't cloud the truth, doesn't build a wall. That's what fear does.

There you see the map of the next few stops she's going to make. She's going to be in Michigan tomorrow, one appearance with the governor there, the female governor. Stop through Iowa, Nevada, and she ends the week in New York City with a rally outside Trump International Hotel. So another sign she's going to be trying to bring the fight directly to Trump and hopefully get some media attention by doing that. Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Athena Jones in New York, thank you so much.

And be sure to watch tomorrow night when Massachusets Senator and Democratic presidential Elizabeth Warren takes her message to voters in a CNN town hall, that's tomorrow night 9:00 Eastern right here on CNN. All right.

Next, we take you to New Zealand, where the death toll in that terror attack on two mosques rises to 50. The Prime Minister now vowing to change the country's gun laws immediately, how she plans to do it.


[15:32:00] WHITFIELD: The death toll in the New Zealand mosque massacre has now climbed to 50. The number of injured also now stands at 50. Authorities are now racing to identify all of the victims so that their families can bury them quickly in accordance with Muslim tradition.

Only one suspect now remains in custody after a police released three others saying they had nothing to do with the shootings. We're hearing more reactions from within the Muslim community today, and their frustrations with how the White House has responded to the tragedy.

This morning, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib insisted something needs to be done to counter rising extremism and it must start with the United States president.


TLAIB: I think he needs to pick up the phone and call the Department of Justice. There is real data and information currently right now of the rise of white supremacy, right here in this United States of America. He needs to look at the data and information and facts, and actually listen and understand the tremendous responsibility he has in being our president, our leader of our country.

He cannot just say it is a small group of people. There is too many deaths. Not only from the synagogue to the black churches, to the temples to now the mosques. We need to be speaking up against this, and it has to start with him.


WHITFIELD: Joining me now is Ahmed Ali Akbar, Freelance Writer and Host of the Podcast "See Something, Say Something." Ahmed, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: So you've heard the congresswoman. She says the President needs to do more. He has yet to agree that white nationalism is on the rise. So what does his position and approach say to you?

ALI AKBAR: To me his position has continually emboldened white nationalists that there won't be strong censoring happening from the strongest part of our government. And for American Muslims who feel this tragedy very deeply, we're seeing the effect of the rising effects of a rising wave of white nationalism at our local level. We're seeing mosques being exposed to swastikas, two, be exposed to folks approaching our mosques with weapons to resistance to our mosques being built.

And it is reflected in our every day reality. And it is truly shocking to see when 50 people have died and he has been named as someone who is an inspiration and a symbol of renewed white identity to deny that it's a small group of people. It's truly upsetting.

WHITFIELD: Yes, the President being named in that manifesto. So let's listen to what President Trump's acting Chief of Staff said this morning on a couple of networks when asked about, you know, criticism of the President's failure to recognize extremism as a growing threat.


MULVANEY: I want to push back against this idea that every time something bad happens everywhere around the world, folks who don't like Donald Trump seem to blame it on Donald Trump.


WHITFIELD: So how do you interpret that?

[15:35:58] ALI AKBAR: So to me Islamophobia is a part of our every day society and Donald Trump is a huge symptom of that. He's a huge person who pushes it forward as a narrative, as something to get himself elected and to, you know, sort of rally his party. And to me, it is one of many symptoms. Focussing on Trump is a part of the problem. But I think our society as a whole has to think about the ways in which we have branded Muslims as outsiders, the way in which we have been made to be used as only a beneficiary to a democratic society as benefits towards reducing -- excuse me, to as beneficial -- excuse me.

WHITFIELD: That's okay. You got it. Take it slow.

ALI AKBAR: It's just that I feel like there is many ways in which Muslims are being used, our values seen as helping the security situation of many Democratic nations that are -- we are -- we're only acceptant to society if we're helping against terrorism and the like. And our place in society is much deeper than that. It's much more important than that.

And I am not -- I believe that there's a lot of work to do on reducing Islamophobia throughout all society. And it's -- we have to deal with Donald Trump, but we also have to think about grass roots efforts, political efforts, the ways in which our congresswomen and congressmen can speak up against Islamophobia in their own party as well.

WHITFIELD: Yes. So I've been reading, you know, so many sentiments and, you know, largely Muslims are conveying they have felt, you know, hurt.


WHITFIELD: And now there's this, you know, growing feeling of anger about what has happened and the kind of reaction or lack thereof, you know, that has resulted. What are you, I mean, what's that visceral feeling that you are experiencing?

ALI AKBAR: Right. It has been incredibly emotional weekend for me. And it's hard to really think about how bigger this problem has been for our community. I woke up on Friday to a news to see that, you know, 49 and now 50 people have been killed in New Zealand. And I felt like not surprised in any way, which is a horrible feeling.

And I talked to many other Muslim Americans and many other Muslims around the world., and they too were not surprised. Because as I said earlier, there has been a growing evidence of increasing hate crimes in America. And we see it in our every day life that our mosques are under attack. Our mosques are, you know, being threatened in many settle and direct ways.

And yet, still I was impressed that as I went to prayers, the room was full of people. People despite the fear that our mosques are targets, people still showed up. It was a very emotional scene of people crying. There was many folks from local Jewish community who has shown up to our prayers quite often, who was there to support us. And there's this feeling that, yes, we need support from broader American society, but there is still a lot of work to be done and we need support on every level.

WHITFIELD: Ahmed Ali Akbar, thank you so much.

ALI AKBAK: Thank you so much.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead, denuclearization talks in limbo after the US and North Korea failed to reach a deal. Kim Jong-un may be giving the Trump administration the silent treatment. Details on that next.


[15:42:34] WHITFIELD: The silent treatment may resume between North Korea and the US falling last month's failed talks in Vietnam. On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed reports that North Korea may be preparing to restart its missile testing program as North Korean officials hinted Kim Jong-un negotiators may stop talking with the US.


MIKE POMPEO, US SECRETARY OF STATE: With respect to what was said last night about Chairman Kim, potentially considering ending the moratorium. I can say only this. In Hanoi on multiple occasions he spoke directly to the President and made a commitment that he would not resume nuclear testing, nor he resume missile testing. So, that's Chairman Kim's word. We have every expectation he will live up to that commitment.


WHITFIELD: Bill Richardson joining me right now. He is a former Ambassador to the United Nations, former Governor of New Mexico and has negotiated with North Korea in the past. Good to see you, ambassador.


WHITFIELD: So, where do you judge the state of relations right now between the US and North Korea?

RICHARDSON: Well, I don't think the negotiations are on the verge of collapse, but things are not going well. And I'm worried that we don't even have any agreement on the framework of negotiations, no agreement on denuclearization, no agreement on a peace treaty, on missiles, on what happens next, on sanctions. But at the same time, I think we have to keep negotiating. I think that what is clear is that the negotiating teams, and not the President, should engage in how do we move forward. That's my concern right now.

WHITFIELD: Well, you heard from Kim Jong-un's people that they're rather critical of John Bolton or even, you know, Mike Pompeo. Those would be the advanced team, you know, members that you are talking about. Not necessarily the president, but members like them, who would, you know, engage in the conversations. Do you think there is just not a chance for that at this juncture?

RICHARDSON: Well, there is a good element here. And that was that Mrs. Choi, the Vice Foreign Minister in the Foreign Ministry is the one that made the statement.


RICHARDSON: That's a good sign. I'm trying to see a silver lining here --


RICHARDSON: -- that the negotiating team is now the foreign ministry and not the spy chief in North Korea. They're very hard lined, the intelligence people. I know Mrs. Choi. I know the foreign ministry people. I think they're more flexible. I think they're going to try to keep things together.

[15:45:05] Now, you know, them criticizing Bolton and Pompeo, that's par for the course. This is what they do to gain leverage. They make these accusations, these threats. Unfortunately, sometimes they follow it through. So, we should not lose hope, but things aren't going very well.

WHITFIELD: Was that North Korea's just way in which to perhaps influence President Trump to reconsider whether, you know, Bolton and Pompeo are assets to him, you know, that perhaps if North Korea gets in the mind of Trump and has him shake up his, you know, diplomacy team that perhaps, you know, that's a point scored by North Korea?

RICHARDSON: Well, what they're trying to do is separate the President who they are also claiming in their statement and Kim Jong-un get along very well. So, at the top things are good.


RICHARDSON: It's your team, President Trump, that is not working well. You know, that's their tactic. And we shouldn't -- we shouldn't lose hope over that. The President actually has a good person named Steve Biegun, the special envoy. I would let Biegun, the special envoy at the State Department have a little more flexibility. He wasn't part of the first summit. He was part of the second one. Find a way to get to North Korea to talk to Mrs. Choi see if at least a frame work of negotiations can be established sequencing.

All right, so some sanctions relief, but you got to do something substantial besides just blowing up facilities that you've already blown up, tell us where your nuclear facilities and missile facilities are, find ways that you start dismantling, not just like freezing.

So, you know, there is a ways to go. But we should continue these talks. But things aren't going too well right now. But I'm not saying they have collapsed.

WHITFIELD: Yes. Well, you've given some unsolicited advice to the White House. Perhaps they're listening.

RICHARDSON: Well, I doubt it. I doubt it, but I did.

WHITFIELD: Or maybe they're hearing you. I'm not sure if they're listening. How about that? All right.

RICHARDSON: That's right, yes. They consult me but they don't listen. They consult but they don't listen to what I recommend.

WHITFIELD: OK. Ambassador Richardson, thank you so much. Appreciate your time.

All right. Still ahead, a notorious mob boss murdered. A suspect now in custody, and we have information about a possible unexpected motive. But first physical therapists are known for putting folks through the paces. Now an increasing number of therapists are taking a more hands on approach. This week staying well looks at manual therapy.


EFI PAPALEXI, PHYSICAL THERAPY CLIENT: I had a lot of pain for many years on my neck, giving me a lot of headaches. They did MRIs, they did X-rays. They said there is nothing wrong except you have had this really bad posture for many years and perhaps you might want to see some physical therapists.

AMY MCGORRY, PHYSICAL AND MANUAL THERAPIST: Gently try to turn to your right.

TAMAR AMITAY, THRIVE INTEGRATED PHYSICAL THERAPY, FOUNDER: Manual therapy is used by physical therapists to assess and treat pain, lack of mobility, flexibility for lacking at what is driving somebody's pain. We do that through our hands. We'll feel for restrictions of tissues and joints. Testing is involved to know that manual therapy is appropriate for that patient.

They'll use different soft tissue techniques to improve glide and mobility at joints.

MCGORRY: When Efi came in, I noticed she has a forward head posture which so many of us have with these computers these days. If she moved here, she's going to take up the slack here. She has very tight chest muscles, the pectoral. So she didn't have the ability to sit upright. Her exercise program consisted of stretching the chest muscles, getting her to open up, her posture started to improve, enough of less stress on that mid cervical area.

PAPALEXI: After about a month I stopped having pain. I can bring the shoulders back instead of just hunching. I feel good.



[15:53:47] WHITFIELD: An arrest has been made in the killing of reputed crime boss Frank Cali. New Jersey Police say Anthony Comello has been taken into custody, where he is waiting extradition to New York City. Cali is believed to be the head of the Gambino crime family.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now from New York with more in this investigation, Polo.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Frank Cali murdered outside of his Staten Island home on Wednesday. Immediately, police here in New York took an even closer look at this particular murder. They obviously feared that we could potentially see more of the brazen mob violence of decades ago. But now my colleague Brynn Gingras hearing from a police source information there suggesting that this investigation could be taking a very different turn.


DERMOT SHEA, CHIEF OF DETECTIVES, NYPD: Oftentimes the first story is not the final story.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): It's looking less likely that the Wednesday murder of Gambino crime boss Francisco "Frankie Boy" Cali was a mob hit, a source close to the investigation tell CNN Cali's killing may instead be the result of a personal feud. According to the source, the suspect, Anthony Comello, had some kind of relationship with one of Cali's family members that the mob boss disagreed with. Comello allegedly took offense to that.

[15:55:00] On Saturday, detectives arrested Comello. Police say the 24-year-old is captured on video outside Cali's Staten Island home the night of the murder. They say Cali was face to face with his alleged killer moments before the shots rang out.

SHEA: He had a conversation with an individual in front of that residence, and that individual at some point in time, it's only about a minute into it, pulls out a firearm and shots are fired.

SANDOVAL: Cali was a reputed member of the Gambino family. He served a 16-month prison sentence for his role in an extortion conspiracy and was later released in 2009.

SHEA: We are well aware of Mr. Cali's past. That will be a part of this investigation as we determine what was the motive for the incident on Wednesday evening. There are multiple, multiple angles that we are still exploring.

SANDOVAL: Detectives have yet to find the murder weapon and are looking at Comello's past.

SHEA: Was he acting alone? Was he acting for other people? Are there others involved? What is the motive? I simply, standing here, do not have all those answers for you.

SANDOVAL: Officially, police are still leaving all options on the table until they can definitively determine why Frank Cali was killed.


SANDOVAL: And this afternoon, Comello being held in A New Jersey jail. He will be extradited to Staten Island where he will face murder charges.

WHITFIELD: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much. And we'll be right back.