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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Adams: Abortion Backlash Could Be Trump's "Third Act"; CIA Leaves Explosive Material on School Bus; CIA Leaves Explosive Material On School Bus; CDC Holds Summit On Zika Threat In U.S. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired April 01, 2016 - 16:30   ET



[16:32:59] JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to THE LEAD.

More on our politics lead. Some may argue that Donald Trump is having his shakiest week yet as a presidential candidate, but is he? At least one person says the latest Trump controversy involving his comments about abortion is not necessarily the beginning of the end for the Republican front-runner. In fact, he thinks it could potentially propel Trump even further and eventually land Trump at the White House.

Let's now speak to the man behind this idea, Scott Adams, the creator of "Dilbert" and the self-described master persuader who sees the same quality in Trump. He also has a blog which chronicles his analysis on the rise of Donald Trump and is a must reading.

Welcome back, Scott, to the show. Appreciate you being here.


TAPPER: So, you say that this backlash that Trump has been facing this week could be his third act, like that experienced by heroes in movies or novels. Explain what you mean.

ADAMS: Yes. So, for months I have been predicting as soon as Trump's competitors really tore into him, as they have, that he would hit some horrible spot that seemed impossible to get out of. I would say he's hit that. Between the sexism charges and the racism charges that have been there, it seems like an impossible place to get out of. But what's different about Trump is that he brings a different set of tools to the race.

So I think that any normal politician would not be able to get out of the problem that he's in. I think that he might actually be able to. And if he does, it's going to put nothing is guaranteed, but he has the tools.

TAPPER: The tools that you talk about are that he appeals on an emotional level, not a political, intellectual level. You've called Trump a master of persuasion and persuasive people come up with, in your view, linguistic kill shots, these catchy labels that can trigger certain memories or ideas such as Jeb Bush, low energy. What is his linguistic kill shot on Hillary Clinton and have you seen

her react to this in any way?

ADAMS: So he likes to pick things that are not just random insults, right? He likes to pick things that you are reminded of when you see the person he's targeted.

[16:35:04] So when he say, you know, Bush was -- yes, when he said that Jeb was low energy, when you saw him, you thought, yes, that looks about right.

So, he's picked for Hillary Clinton stamina. Now, he has some other insults for her as well, but stamina is the one that meets his model, which is when you see her sometime in the next nine months, she's going to have an off day, because she's a certain age and people are working really hard in this campaign. Anybody is going to have a bad day.

But when you see it, he's primed you now with this stamina word to think, hey, maybe that's a case of no stamina. So he primes you for confirmation bias. If she slips by end of (INAUDIBLE), on the stage, people will say, whoa, what's the matter with her balance? If she says a word wrong, people are going to say, is there something wrong with her memory? None of it has to be true. It's just that you'll be reminded of it.

TAPPER: Do you think this will work with Ted Cruz? He's been calling him "Lyin' Ted Cruz". How has that affected Cruz do you think?

ADAMS: This is a perfect example. If you say someone has lied in the past, then, you know, people get over the lies in the past. But if you say he is a liar and anything happens in the next few months whether people accuse him of lying, whether true or not, that doesn't matter. Whether it will fit the label and people will say, hey, there's confirmation. I've heard he's a liar and that seems to fit.

So, he plays to confirmation bias in the future by setting it up that way.

TAPPER: And you have a new theory about a Trump-Clinton general election contest that will in your view potentially favor Trump. What is it?

ADAMS: So when we have Trump versus Clinton, assuming they get to the final match, it's going to look like mom versus dad. Now, they're not going to say that, but in our minds, we're going to start seeing them that way. And the thing about dad is that dad is kind of an A-hole but if you need dad to take care of some trouble, he's going to be the one you call. You know, if there's a noise downstairs, you probably are not going to call mom, even if she's awesome. You're probably going to call the biggest person in the room and call dad.

So, in our irrational minds if the world is exploding and we're still talking about nuclear terrorism, I think people are going to say maybe you want the most dangerous person to protect us. If people are saying things are looking pretty good right now, the economy is not so bad, all I need is a sandwich and a hug, maybe mom looks better.

So, I think people end up talking issues and then ignoring them and it's these big feelings that they have about the candidates that are going to rule in the end.

TAPPER: Always interesting. Scott Adams, thank you so much, appreciate it.

ADAMS: Thank you.

TAPPER: Now to national lead, some CYA for the CIA after the Central Intelligence Agency accidentally leaves explosives on a school bus.


[16:42:10] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

Turning now to a baffling and maddening and frightening story in our national lead: the CIA accidentally leaving explosive material on a school bus for special needs students after a training exercise in Virginia last week. Thankfully, no one was injured. But the mistake is raising a lot of eyebrows, and even more questions.

CNN's Tom Foreman joins me now live from northern Virginia.

Tom, how on earth did this happen?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, essentially, Jake, they're just saying it was an accident, but it was an absolute jaw-dropper for school officials and parents alike who say how can you have a drill at a school that's aimed at making schools safer ultimately and yet seems to produce the exact opposite effect?


FOREMAN (voice-over): The CIA session to help train bomb-sniffing dogs took place over spring break when all the students were away from Briarwoods High School in suburban D.C., only a half hour or so from CIA headquarters.

(on camera): One element of the drill was explosive material placed inside the engine compartment of this bus. When the drill was over, they took it out.

But some of the material fell deeper into the engine, unnoticed by anyone.

(voice-over): And there it remained as the kids came back to school and the bus went back to work, covering 145 miles, making eight runs between several different schools with as many as 26 special needs students onboard. Then during routine engine maintenance, a worker noticed something.

School spokesman Wayde Byard.

WAYDE B. BYARD, SPOKESMAN, LOUDOUN COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: It was in a black package. It's a brick about 1.25 pounds, so it's small. The technician knew immediately something was not right there. They got the supervisor. The supervisor is ex-military. He said, well, that's an explosive material.

FOREMAN: It took some detective work to trace the stuff back to the CIA which has insisted in a written statement the training material did not pose a danger to passengers. To prevent such incidents from happening again, CIA has taken immediate steps to strengthen inventory and control procedures in its K-9 program. Local authorities seem satisfied.

(on camera): School officials are convinced that at no time was anyone on this bus in actual danger because they say the explosive was such that it needed a detonator to go off and could not have exploded by accident.

Still, they had a frank meeting with the CIA and they're not taking it lightly.

BYARD: We realize the necessity for this in the world we live in. Of course, anything even remotely threatening to our students upsets us.

FOREMAN (voice-over): And some parents have taken to the school district's Facebook page to vent. "This can't be an isolated incident," one wrote. "What other types of similar activities are going on that we don't know about?"


FOREMAN: For the time being after their meeting with the CIA, there are no activities going on, they have canceled all future exercises like this until they have a better sense that the feds know how to clean up after their training is done -- Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Yes, pro-tip, CIA, don't leave explosives on school buses. Tom Foreman, thanks so much.

World health leaders are convening right now working on a plan to combat the spread of the Zika virus as we learn alarming new fears about the capabilities of the sexually transmitted and mosquito-borne virus. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. Health officials in the U.S. are very worried about the Zika virus and they're trying to prepare for the worst this spring and summer. The World Health Organization says there is now enough scientific evidence linking the Zika virus in a rare birth defect that causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and with severe brain damage.

Today in Atlanta, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention held a summit urging federal, local and state governments to share information and frankly to gird themselves.

[16:50:00]There are already more than 300 cases of Zika in the U.S. from people who contracted it elsewhere and came to the U.S. But the fear is that soon people will be catching it here from mosquitos or from other individuals.

Let's talk about the risks and how to prevent it with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Fauci, good to have you as always. Is this primarily a concern to women of child-bearing years?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR FOR NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: That is the overwhelming major concern. Zika itself, if you look at it apart from pregnant women, is a relatively mild disease. It's a flu-like syndrome.

You get a rash, fever, aches and pains in your joints and muscles, and very, very unusual to have any serious complications.

But with pregnant women it's a real issue because the evidence now that when women get infected with Zika during pregnancy, the danger to the fetus of having congenital abnormalities, particularly the microcephaly that you alluded to, Jake, is really a great concern. And so the main thing is to protect pregnant women.

TAPPER: Pregnant women, so women of child-bearing years and also men, because men can carry it and transmit it to the women. What are you telling people who maybe want to have a child? What are you saying that they need to be doing?

FAUCI: Well, first of all, right now there are no local cases in the United States. So if you're talking about people in the United States, if you are pregnant, do not travel to a region that is involved, South America, Central America, parts of the Caribbean. There's no doubt about that.

If you're a man and you travel to that region and you come back home and you have a pregnant sexual partner, wife or a girlfriend, you must either refrain from sex or use a consistent and correct use of condom for the duration of the pregnancy.

Wanting to become pregnant right now, women in the United States should go about their business if they're not traveling to an area where there's involvement, there should be no issue of worrying about being pregnant or not.

It's when we get and if we do get sustained transmission in the United States and we don't have that now. The number of cases in the United States that you correctly mentioned are people who have traveled from the region to the United States.

What we are keeping an eye out on for is what's called local outbreak, when someone who's never left the United States gets bitten by a mosquito from someone who's infected. That's called a local outbreak.

And what we're trying to do in preparation is to make sure if and when those local outbreaks occur, we're prepared for them and able to suppress them before they become a sustained outbreak.

TAPPER: Dr. Fauci, Congress has not yet passed the $1.9 billion in emergency funding to prevent Zika from spreading that the Obama administration has requested, so what are states and localities supposed to do? What should they be buying?

FAUCI: Well, the issue is that we must act even without the money. It is really a shame. The president asked for $1.9 billion as a supplement to the 2016 fiscal year budget. And that's money that would go not only to the NIH for research but to the CDC, who ran the summit in Atlanta today.

Those are issues the FDA and other government agencies, we need the money. If we don't get the money, we'll have to move money from other areas to address the Zika problem. We can't not do it because we don't have the money. We have to take money from other areas and do what we need to do to address Zika in an appropriate way.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you so much. Appreciate it. We are standing by to hear from President Obama in a news conference as he wraps up his nuclear security summit expressing many, many concerns about the threat of ISIS getting a nuclear bomb.

He may also weigh in on the 2016 presidential race for all we know. Keep it here for coverage within the hour. We're going to take this quick break.



TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper. More in our National Lead now, the latest clash between red state religion and same-sex rights, Mississippi's House of Representatives today passed a bill that supporters believe protects religious freedom.

Opponents say that the bill will allow businesses and religious groups to deny and discriminate against the LGBT community. Preventing them from getting services like counseling or wedding planning or adoption support without any legal punishment.

Earlier this week, Georgia's Republican governor chose to veto his state's version of the same bill only after a major backlash from Hollywood and major corporations such as Disney, Coca-Cola and the NFL.

Also today, Washington, D.C., joined at least four states sending a signal to North Carolina that by banning state travel there over a new law that forces transgender people to use the bathroom for the gender they were assigned when they were born.

Also today, escalating blame in the Flint water crisis. CNN just learned that the city of Flint plans to sue the state of Michigan. Just last week a task force singled out Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, his office and various agencies. Their report found little done to protect people of the mostly black community of Flint when lead was discovered in the city's water system. Flint leaders say they plan to sue for water system damages and mounting legal fees.

Governor Snyder's office tells CNN that the lawsuit will make communication difficult with lawyers likely needed for many conversations between the state and city to fix the problem.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper or tweet the show @theleadcnn. This Sunday on "STATE OF THE UNION," my guest will be Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders.

That's it for THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper, turning you over to now to Wolf Blitzer in "the situation ROOM." Have a great weekend. I'll see you Sunday morning.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, Trump's troubles. He's heading into the pivotal Wisconsin primary trailing in the polls and off kilter from a week of controversies. Is his presidential campaign taking a turn for the --