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Aircraft Carrier Strike Group Ordered to Persian Gulf; Tiger Woods to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom; Interview with Melinda Gates. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired May 6, 2019 - 10:30   ET


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: This video is just incredible and harrowing to watch. At least 41 people, we now know, including one American, died when Aeroflot Flight 1492 crashed at Moscow -- at a Moscow airport on Sunday afternoon.

At one point, passengers could be seen escaping the burning wreckage --


SCIUTTO: -- using emergency slides. So thankfully some got out. A lot didn't, though. CNN's Matthew Chance, he's joining us now live from Moscow.

So Russia has launched an investigation, but they're not grounding the plane at this point.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're not. And, you know, Jim, it makes me wince, looking at that, those pictures, those dramatic images of that burning plane. It's what I fear every time I get on a plane in this country. And of course, every passenger in this country in a Russian aircraft knows that these kinds of accidents happen all too often in this country.

You're right. The Russian authorities, they're not grounding them. They're saying they're looking into the competency of the pilots, the air traffic control, the air maintenance crews. They're even looking into the weather conditions, whether that was a factor.

But, you know, they seem to be reluctant -- at least this is a sense -- they seem to be reluctant to ground this first Russian airliner that was built in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. It's like a national project. It's a pride issue that -- almost -- that this kind of aircraft should not be -- should not fail -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Goodness gracious.


SCIUTTO: That video from inside there, I have not seen that, from inside the plane as those flames --

HARLOW: Right.

SCIUTTO: -- first started. Matthew Chance, thanks very much.

HARLOW: Yes. Neither had I. That is stunning. OK.

So as we speak, the Trump administration is sending what it calls a clear and unmistakable message to Iran. Here it is. Look at that. That is the message.

SCIUTTO: An aircraft carrier strike group led by the USS Abraham Lincoln. The White House says it's, quote, "in response to a number of troubling indications and warnings." What are they? CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr joins us now.

So what is the intelligence that's leading to this really large deployment of U.S. military forces in the Persian Gulf? Do we know?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, we don't. And I think it's absolutely important to point that out. The Pentagon is not saying what the specific intelligence is that led to this extraordinary Sunday night announcement here in Washington, that an aircraft carrier strike group and a number of Air Force bombers were headed to the region.

TEXT: John Bolton, National Security Advisor, May 5: "... a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force."

STARR: What they will say is that there had been information -- intelligence, if you will -- that Iranian forces and Iranian-backed forces, militia movements, were making preparations for a possible attack against U.S. forces.

Now, the national security advisor, John Bolton, also issuing a statement which, in part, says that the U.S. effort is to send "a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime, that any attack on U.S. interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force."

TEXT: Carrier Strike Group Sent to Middle East: USS Abraham Lincoln; USS Leyte Gulf; USS Bainbridge; USS Mason; USS Nitze

U.S. Central Command Region: Middle East: Saudi Arabia; Iran; Oman; Afghanistan; Pakistan

STARR: So what you can take away from all of this is that they are sending a very public message of deterrence, that if the Iranians are indeed planning some sort of attack, that there will be overwhelming U.S. military force that that should deter them, that they cannot succeed, that the U.S. will strike against them and not allow an attack to go forward.

But there is an awful lot to learn, still, about what the precise intelligence is --


STARR: -- that led them to this move.

SCIUTTO: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thanks very much.

STARR: Sure.

[10:33:28] SCIUTTO: A green jacket and now a Medal of Freedom. A big year for the golfing legend Tiger Woods. We're going to discuss his personal and -- this is key -- his business relationship with President Trump. Imagine that would be a factor.


SCIUTTO: Later today, President Trump will bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, to this year's Masters champion, the golfing legend Tiger Woods. His Masters win last month capped off a quintessential sports comeback story after problems with his personal life and battles with major physical injuries.

HARLOW: Yes. But today, it is President Trump's close relationship with Woods over the years that will be in the spotlight. They played golf together, they have done business together. "The New York Times" reports that the president named a villa at his National Doral course in Miami after Tiger. And in 2014, according to the "Times," Trump announced that Woods would design a golf course for him in Dubai.

[10:40:00] Let's discuss with the man who wrote the book on Tiger Woods, literally. Armen Keteyian is the co-author of the bestselling Tiger Woods book. He is an anchor, an executive producer for "The Atlantic" (ph).

So nice -- the Athletic (ph). So nice to have you here. So can you remind Americans of just how close this relationship is between the president and Tiger Woods? And the business connection the two have?

ARMEN KETEYIAN, CO-AUTHOR, "TIGER WOODS": Well, I don't think it's as close as a lot of people are making it right now, Poppy. You have to remember, you mentioned it was 2014.

I think you have to put this into perspective and into context. In 2014, Donald Trump was a businessman. He wasn't even a candidate for president. And in 2014, Tiger Woods was full of problems. Back problems, swing problems --


KETEYIAN: -- and he was pivoting towards golf course design as his future as a businessman.

And so to take it -- what we're looking at today with the Medal of Freedom and go back five years and say, "Well, they were business partners." Understandably, you can make some criticisms here. But you have to put it into context.

SCIUTTO: This is, to be fair, an unusual Presidential Medal of Freedom winner, right? I mean, you have generals, you have longtime politicians, often at the end of their career. So what leads to this, in your view? Is there something about the Tiger Woods story that appeals to President Trump personally?

KETEYIAN: Oh, no question. No question, Jim. I mean, first of all, yes. I read some criticism today in the "Times" about -- you know, this is a lifetime achievement award.

But you could argue that Tiger Woods has lived two or three or four lifetimes during his 43 years. You can talk about his run and pure dominance in the game of golf, really into the mid-2000s and beyond. And then the epic fall from grace. And then the incredible comeback, the redemption story. and now what we're witnessing or what we witnessed at Augusta in the Masters.

And so when you're talking about this award, it's a meritorious contribution for culture. And one could argue that Tiger Woods has made an enormous contribution to our culture racially, socially, financially. All of the -lys.

And what was missing, I thought, in the "Times" article today was one --


KETEYIAN: -- very important point. Tiger Woods Learning Centers and his Tiger Woods Foundation have changed the lives of thousands and thousands and thousands of kids who would never have had the opportunities without that foundation.

So one could argue that he's very deserving. When you look at --


KETEYIAN: -- Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe and others --


KETEYIAN: -- I'm not surprised that he's getting this award.

SCIUTTO: It's a fair point. Just to let you know, Roger Staubach, Babe Ruth. Barack Obama picked Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, Willie Mays. So you do have other athletes, you know, legends through the years.

KETEYIAN: You do. And I think you have to go back to the point I was making, is that Tiger Woods has made an enormous contribution in so many areas that reach far beyond golf. Yes, he changed the game of golf financially, certainly.

But if you look at the impact of the Tiger Woods Learning Centers -- and there are now several across the country --


KETEYIAN: -- and the Earl Woods Scholars, named after his father. You could make a pretty strong argument that he deserves this award. HARLOW: You know -- and just to your point, Armen, I mean, President

Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Oprah Winfrey, and she's certainly mid-career, right? I mean, she's still going. But it does stand in stark contrast to some of those high-profile African- American athletes who have publicly, you know, not sided with the president, whether it's Steph Curry or LeBron James, for example, or those who have chosen not to go to the White House to be honored.

KETEYIAN: Yes. I mean, look. On the surface, the optics are not great here. You could argue -- and many already have -- that this is a -- this is in the self-interest of President Trump and, to some degree, Tiger Woods. And not in the national interest.

But, you know, in terms of his contribution, I mean, there's no question that you can argue that he has made a significant contribution. And at this point in time, you know, I think what's happening with 2014 is just really -- it's an unfair criticism and it's a rather narrow criticism.

HARLOW: We appreciate your expertise. So nice to have you on, Armen. Thanks very, very much.

KETEYIAN: Thank you very much.

HARLOW: You got it.

All right. So did you watch the Derby? I was sitting at an airport bar, Jim --


HARLOW: -- watching, trying to figure out what was going on with the Kentucky Derby. Well, another development this morning --


HARLOW: -- the owner of the horse disqualified after winning the Derby will file an appeal today with the state's racing commission.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Just -- that never happened before, a winner disqualified.


SCIUTTO: Saturday, Maximum Security became the first horse in the history of the 145-year-old race to be disqualified after crossing the line first. Race stewards say that Maximum Security left its own lane, cut off another horse in the home stretch. The owner of that horse, Gary West, says appealing the ruling is the only way he can get answers from those race officials.


[10:45:10] GARY WEST, OWNER OF MAXIMUM SECURITY: I was a bit shocked and surprised that the stewards wrote a statement that was probably prepared by their lawyers and refused -- literally refused -- to take a single question from the media. So they've been about as nontransparent about this whole thing as anything I've ever seen in my life.


SCIUTTO: West says that Maximum Security will not now run the next leg of the Triple Crown, the Preakness, in two weeks because he says he of course has no chance now to win the Triple Crown, all those races.

HARLOW: Oh, OK. We're going to watch this very, very closely. I have so many questions about this.

Coming up for us. The United States is the only industrialized economy without paid family leave. I ask Melinda Gates about that, and what she makes of this debate over capitalism versus socialism.


MELINDA GATES, AUTHOR, "THE MOMENT OF LIFT": If we value family and society, why are we not willing to shave off a tiny percentage of our GDP and put it into a policy that's sensible?



[10:51:07] HARLOW: All right. Capitalism versus socialism. It's a debate at the center of the 2020 election. And with recent polling showing more Democrats have a positive view of socialism than capitalism.

So when I sat down this weekend with billionaire Melinda Gates to talk about her new book, "The Moment of Lift," I asked her why does she think that is. And, frankly, should she and other of the wealthiest Americans pay more in taxes.


HARLOW: We all know the debate that is going on right now over capitalism, is it working for enough people. An interesting Gallup poll from about six months ago found that more Democrats in America have a positive view of socialism than capitalism. So what do you think when you see numbers like that?

GATES: People I meet outside the United States would really like to live in our democracy and our capitalistic society. However, I don't think capitalism does everything right. And I think it does -- it leaves behind -- as Warren says, Warren Buffett, some of these societal problems. Because they are hard.

And I think it's up to us to look at our capitalistic structure and say, "Why are we having these great inequities in wealth and what should we do about it?" Bill and I are on record, saying that we believe it's time to update the tax policy in the United States. High-income people should pay more than middle-income and middle- income should pay more than low-income.

HARLOW: Is capitalism as it exists today in America working for enough Americans?

GATES: Is it working for enough? No, I don't think it's working well enough for all Americans. It's why you've got so much inequity.

HARLOW: So you're on record saying you think wealthy people should pay more in taxes. Do you believe the wealthiest Americans should pay a 70 percent marginal tax rate on their 10 millionth dollar and above?

GATES: Yes. So I'm not an expert on tax policy. And --


HARLOW: Would you?

GATES: If that was the law of the land, that's what we would do. Bill and I pay taxes. We probably pay more taxes than probably anybody else in the United States, or maybe one other person pays more taxes than we do, potentially.


And we're happy to pay those taxes. Look, Bill and Warren are both really clear. They could not have started Berkshire Hathaway in Niger. They could not have started Microsoft in Senegal or in Mozambique.

HARLOW: There's -- Senator Elizabeth Warren, who's proposed a wealth tax on assets over $50, if they should be additionally taxed. Is that a good idea, do you think? Would it help America?

GATES: I think it would help America if we had higher taxes for high- income people. But this is for Congress to figure out. So I actually -- I'm glad that there are two proposals on the table.


GATES: I hope we have five more proposals on the table and then Congress has a real debate about it and figures out what's right. But that's not for us to decide. Bill and I are single -- two single Americans paying our taxes. That is for Congress to decide, and it's absolutely appropriate that these, you know, new candidates are bringing this stuff up. I think that's great.

HARLOW: So let's talk about unpaid work, and if you think the government should pay for parents to stay home, or at least do so for a bit through actual paid parental leave. How do we solve for this?

GATES: We absolutely need paid family medical leave in this country. We are the only industrialized nation that doesn't have it.


And it makes an enormous difference. Men and women should take it, both. Because we know from good research from countries that have had paid family medical leave, now for some time, that if the man participates early, he participates more over the child's lifetime, and he starts to value, more, the unpaid labor in his home.

And the reason you want a paid family medical leave is that we also have an aging population. And men and women have aging parents and we need to take care of them.

So if we value family in society, why are we not willing to shave off a tiny percentage of our GDP and put it into a policy that's sensible?

[10:55:07] HARLOW: There's a lot of proposals in Congress. You have Senator Marco Rubio on the Republican side, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. You have not publicly endorsed any of them and I'm interested in why. Do you think they don't go far enough or is it a right way --

GATES: I think there's no -- I'm -- first of all, I am thrilled there are two proposals there. But I don't think either one of them is a very robust proposal yet and I wish they were learning more from the states. We have over half a dozen states, now, that are putting forward paid family medical leave. And I think there are some things to learn from the state policies.


HARLOW: All right. You can hear that full interview with Melinda Gates, fascinating. It is on my CNN podcast, "BOSS FILES." That's ahead -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Still to come, the president's former fixer Michael Cohen is on his way to prison. We'll be live with an update. Stay with us.