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tv   CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow  CNN  April 7, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT

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all right, good morning, everyone. i'm john berman. >> i'm poppy harlow. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. we do have breaking news this morning. next hour, the u.n. security council will hold a meeting on the air strikes and the ongoing crisis in syria. moments ago we also learned that senate majority leader mitch mcconnell will hold an all senators briefing today with all of the developments.
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russia and syria, assad's regime, firing off criticism at the united states after the president's decision to unleash a wave of military air strikes overnight. [ explosion ] russia, which has helped syria's president bashar al assad calling america's military action an act of aggression and warning that the risk of a u.s./russia collision in syria has "significantly increased." now, overnight, u.s. warships in the mediterranean launched 59 tomahawk cruise missiles against the same syrian air base that the united states says president assad used to launch that deadly chemical attack that killed dozens, including children. >> the strikes targeted syrian aircraft, fuel, ammunition storage, and this was the first direct military action by the united states against the assad regime during that country's six-year civil war. in that time, the united nations
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estimates that 400,000 syrians have been killed. it's also notable that in that time, donald trump, then citizen trump, then candidate trump, he spoke out repeatedly against this exact kind of action, the exact kind of action that president trump just carried out. we're covering all the angles with our reporters all around the world. want to begin with cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr. and barbara, we just learned that the russians got a one-hour warning on this attack. >> reporter: that's right. a senior u.s. official telling me a short time ago, we knew that the russians and the u.s. had talked several times during the day yesterday, but it was that final conversation where the u.s. gave the russians one-hour warning, telling them that they were going to strike this air base in one hour. i am told by this official the u.s. didn't say get your people out of the way, but the message was clear, and the russians that were there were apparently moved to safety. now, this all goes to the point
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of this, you know, russian/u.s. relationship. the implications rapidly moving beyond this one single air strike. what we also now know, this senior official telling me, is as you might expect, measures are in place to protect now u.s. forces on the ground in syria. as you know, there are several hundred u.s. troops, mainly special operations forces, marines, and others on the ground in syria fighting isis, working to help train local forces engage in operations. so, because in this aftermath there's no direct threat that they know of. nothing has happened, but the u.s. military moving very quickly to engage in what we're being told is force protection for those u.s. troops on the ground in syria. they want to make sure, given the heightened tensions that there is no threat against them. john, poppy. >> the situation very different, all of a sudden, for those u.s. troops inside syria.
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barbara starr, thanks so much. syria and its allies are condemning this u.s. air strike. the syrian army says the united states is now a partner of isis. cnn's ben wedeman live in turkey near the syrian border. ben, what are you seeing? >> reporter: now, john, what we're hearing from the syrian presidency, via the syrian arab news agency, is that they're describing the u.s. missile strikes as unjust and blatant aggression, irresponsible, and short-sighted. the syrian foreign ministry has put out a statement saying that these missile strikes were merely using the incident the chemical attack as a pretext for military aggression against syria. we're hearing, for instance, not surprisingly, iran, a key ally of syria, condemning the missile strike. but we're hearing, however, from others, for instance, the turkish government is praising the attack -- or rather, the
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missile strike by the united states, as is jordan, saudi arabia and other arab countries as well. and in social media, he's seen a surprising outpouring of support for a man who's been called abu ivanka enrike, a term of endearment arabs would be using in this case. some people on twitter changing their pictures to that of trump and written in arabic "we love you." john, poppy? >> ben wedeman reporting for us on the turkish/syria border. thank you very, very much. of course, we're getting sharp reaction from russia. russian president vladimir putin calling the u.s. strikes on syria this morning "a serious blow to u.s./russia relations." let's go to paula newton live in moscow with more. it is, you know, very interesting to read between the lines of what putin and the kremlin are saying and what the foreign minister lavrov, who has to really deal with the diplomacy, is saying.
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>> reporter: yeah, and what lavrov is saying is, look, whatever point we're at now with relations, it's not irreversible. the problem here is that vladimir putin could not leave this. he had to challenge. he had to challenge the trump administration, so he's done it first with words, and then a few deeds. let's get to those words first, poppy. as you had pointed out, he called this an aggressive action through his spokesperson. the president of russia regards the u.s. air strikes on syria as an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext." that's important. russia still says they do not believe that syrian forces are responsible for the chemical attack. "this move by washington has dealt a serious blow to u.s./russian relations, which were already in a poor state. this will not bring us closer to the goal of combating international terrorism but will instead create a major obstacle in the establishment of an international counterterrorism coalition." translation -- this does not
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help us fight isis in syria, and i thought -- the russian government saying, look, we thought we were on the same side when it comes to that. there are also the actions. as we've been reporting, they have suspended the air safety agreement. what does that mean? it means there isn't that line of communication anymore on the ground in syria to make sure that there is no conflicts in midair or on the ground, for that matter, between the russian and american forces. that is suspended, though, and that means that it can definitely be picked up again. to remind everyone, rex tillerson, the secretary of state, will be here in the middle of next week. >> and that will be a fascinating meeting with increased importance now. paula newton for us in moscow, thanks so much. want to bring in a panel of experts. joining us, retired brigadier general a.j.tata, author of "besieged," kurt liphold and jim sciutto is with us. general, let me start with you. after this air strike, 59 tomahawk missiles into this syrian air base, how has the
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military situation changed in syria? >> well, john, poppy, thanks for having me on. you know, the key thing is we've got boots on the ground in syria, and so we need to protect them. and i can assure you that they have all the protection that they require. this is a very legitimate act. it was the right thing to do, president trump did. and we have a series of what's called flexible deterrent options, and you can do a show of force with the six fleet and the med, or you can launch some cruise missiles, or you can do a lot more. and so, this is on the lower scale, in my view, of things that president trump could have done. i think it was well planned, well executed. and now what we're looking for is the follow-through. what happens next? and that, of course, is what everybody is wondering. and the best next step would be to actually get the weapons of mass destruction. you know, what obama and kerry did was turn it over to the russians. well, the russians never followed through. and so, really, the blood is on
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the hands of the previous administration, in my point of view, for never ensuring that these chemical weapons were removed from syrian control. >> right. you're talking about that 2014 joint agreement that assad would get rid of all his chemical weapons and the argument now that that didn't happen, given the latest chemical attack on civilians. in terms of next steps, there are some lawmakers, including senator mccain, senator lindsey graham, who want to see more. this applaud this, but they say, all right, now you have to completely disable assad's air force. you have to wipe it off the map. do you think that is realistic or re, a realistic next step? >> i don't think it's realistic. i think this was a proportional and appropriate response for the chemical attack, and at this point, i think the trump administration is going to take a look at the overall, both tactical and strategic picture in the region. they will take a step back, let the dust settle a little bit.
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but at this point, i don't think you're going to see a major ramp-up that's going to require an authorized use of military force or amuf, to go into the area and try to do more to the syrian regime. we don't want to start a conflict where we're going to pull russia and iran into it. but it clearly sent a signal at the strategic level that when you cross that red line of using nonconventional chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, that the united states is not going to sit idly by. we're not going to draw a red line and do nothing. we are, in fact, going to take swift action to ensure that they don't use it in the future. and i think it was very good that we did this. >> you know, it's interesting, but it is a mystery what happens next, because it's a completely different strategy, not just for the united states, but a completely different strategic goal coming from donald trump, first as a candidate and now as president. we had never heard of this type of thing before, and we just don't know what he does next. jim sciutto, i suppose the same question will be asked of the russians right now. we're looking for signals,
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exactly how they are going to receive this. on the one hand, they've con dentaled the action, but on the other hand, sergey lavrov says he looks forward to more discussions, but they've suspended the memorandum of understanding about deconflicting the air space. how do you see the russians handling this going forward? >> i think it's fair to say it depends on the next step, is there a follow-through? if this is purely about the use of chemical weapons it was a limited strike. it doesn't truly affect the war on the ground. it has not diminished bashar al assad's ability to kill his own people by other means. and the principal means he's used to do that is by conventional military force, barrel bombs dropped from helicopters, et cetera. that hasn't happened. this has been about that chemical weapons attack. so, if it stays in that category, it doesn't significantly change the fortunes of russia's client state, syria, and therefore, it's reasonable to see that russia might not have additional reaction to this and that
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they've made their public stand. they suspend the deconfliction agreement for some time, and then unsuspend it, because frankly, it serves both u.s. and russian interests not to have u.s. and russian warplanes running into each other in the war space over syria, so that's conceivable if there's no follow-through, no fundamental change to u.s. plans. but we should note that in the span of a number of days, you have seen at least a public expression of a change in that your secretary of state said a few days ago, listen, you know, removing bashar al assad is no longer a u.s. priority. now he's saying something different. is there follow-through on that? >> right. >> particularly with military means? >> right. >> that's a big if. >> and did those words from nikki haley and rex tillerson less than a week ago embolden the assad regime to think that they could carry this out? that is a lingering question as well. jim sciutto, thank you so much. commander lippold and brigadier general tata, thank you very much. less than 30 minutes from now, president trump sitting down with china's leader.
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the timing could not be more crucial. china openly opposing overnight those u.s. air strikes in syria. so what's going to happen when these two men get together in just moments? >> and we're getting new information out of sweden. breaking news there, reports that a vehicle was driven into a group of pedestrians. we're getting reports that that vehicle had been hijacked. at least two people dead. we're following the very latest. yeah, i just saved a whole lot of money by to geico. we should take a closer look at geico... you know, geico insures way more than cars. boats, motorcycles... even rvs! geico insures rvs? what's an rv? uh, the thing we've been stuck on for five years! wait, i'm not a real moose?? we've been over this, jeff... we're stickers! i'm not a real moose? give him some space. deep breaths, jeff. what's a sticker?!? take a closer look at geico. great savings. and a whole lot more. ♪ everything your family touches sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around.
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are you concerned about an escalation of this with russia? >> i think the russians only understand one thing, and that is that force is used in response to the commission of war crimes. we all saw the pictures of those dead children, and that kind of thing, if we want to keep it from being repeated, we should. >> reporter: do you hope the president reconsiders his stance on refugees from syria? >> all right that was senator
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john mccain moments ago on capitol hill. senator mccain has been very -- he's praised extensively the actions overnight by the trump administration. in fact, senator mccain will go even further. he wouldn't stop there, strikes with just this. he would go after the entire syrian air force. >> we did not hear his answer to the refugee question, though, which is a pertinent one. we'll get that tape reracked and get more of what senator mccain said. also in a half hour, president trump will be holding a bilateral meeting with china president xi jinping. already voisioning their opposition to the air strikes in syria. >> athena jones is near mar-a-lago. what do you expect to hear? >> reporter: we know there is a meeting scheduled to take place in about ten minutes. there is also a working lunch that the president and president xi are set to have, and there are a lot of topics on the agenda, a lot of areas of disagreement and tension. for instance, how to handle north korea's nuclear ambitions, trade issues that we heard the
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president as candidate rail against china on the campaign trail for over a year. and also, maritime and territorial issues, particularly in the south china sea. those are just among the issues that they are likely to discuss. but this first direct u.s. military action against the syrian regime has overshadowed this very important summit between the leaders of the world's two biggest economies, especially given the fact that china has come out in opposition to the use of force. you know, we heard from the chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman that china is opposed to the use of chemical weapons but feels that force should be avoided when it comes to international affairs. they want to see the syria issue resolved peacefully through dialogues. they said that they hope the syrian issue should be solved through political means and they hope under the current circumstances that the sides exercise calm and don't further escalation the situation. so, this is one more area of
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disagreement and possible tension in this relationship, which the white house says this meeting is all about beginning to build a relationship. they have downplayed any big announcements coming out of this summit, but we'll have to see what happens. back to you. >> absolutely, we will, athena jones. thank you. in florida where the president is right now holding this meeting. meantime, these strikes could very well send a very strong message to north korea. our ivan watson is in hong kong. he has many more details. look, the question is, what will kim jong-un take from all of this, and will it change any of his provocations? >> reporter: we don't know. there hasn't been any formal response yet, poppy, from pyongyang, but i think it's quite telling that hours before the cruise mission aisle strikes took place, north korea sent a message, a congratulatory message to the syrian president, bashar al assad, congratulating him on the 70th anniversary of the founding of syria's ruling
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bath party, or what's left of syria that it still rules, and basically expressing solidarity for the syrian president's fight against what north korea describes as imperialism. so, no question there about where north korea's sentiments lie when it comes to syria's civil war there that's gone on for some six years. now, the question about how north korea would interpret the attack here on syria, you've got to do a calculation about what could happen if the u.s. was to conduct a similar attack in north korea, and there you have to do an evaluation. that the syrian regime after six years of civil war is far weaker right now than north korea, which has conducted five nuclear tests, which fires banned cruise missiles and intercontinental missiles on almost a weekly basis. just last weekend, ashton carter, the former u.s. defense secretary, said if we were to carry out a preemptive strike against north korea, it would
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touch off a second korean war with violence that people had not seen in more than a half century. poppy and john? >> ivan watson. apples and oranges, different situation there. thanks so much, ivan. want to bring in cnn global affairs analyst tony blinken. he served as deputy national security adviser under president obama. and tony, you were supportive of this type of limited military action, air strike, as far back as 2013. you are supportive, i take it, of this action by president trump overnight, yes? >> yes, i think the president, john, did the right thing. not only was this chemical attack just heinous in terms of what it did to the victims, but it also violated an international norm that's been in place since the end of world war i, which bans the use of chemical weapons or biological weapons in armed conflict. so, the president did the right thing in standing up and enforcing that norm, demonstrating there would be consequences for violating it. >> was 2013, you know, the final
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days of august in 2013, after that chemical weapons attack in gunpoint , was that the time for this strike? >> i think in 2013 we accomplished by not firing a shot far more than we could have accomplished with an attack. back then, we couldn't have targeted the chemical weapons themselves. we would have taken strikes similar to what president trump took last night. but instead, as a result of being prepared to use force, we were able to get a deal with russia to get the vast bulk of the chemical weapons out of syria destroyed to get the infrastructure -- >> but it happened again. you were working along the obama team and you're saying it worked, but it happened again. >> poppy, imagine if those thousands of tons of chemical weapons were still there. as bad as what we saw this week was, the fact that those weapons are no longer there, able to fall into the hands of the islamic state, nusra, as well as the assad regime -- as bad as this was, it would be far, far worse. and of course, in the years
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since, we've worked to try to get the residual chemical weapons out, and it really is up to the russians to enforce an agreement that they were the main guarantor of back in 2013. >> but they didn't. as you look back, do you wonder, if you had carried out this type of strike in 2013, if maybe the need for it this week wouldn't have existed? >> again, john, i think had we carried out the strike, unfortunately, it couldn't have gotten at the chemical weapons themselves or most of the infrastructure, and all of that stuff would still be in syria, probably in the hands of all sorts of incredibly bad actors. so, it was imperfect, but the diplomatic initiative did more than striking the syrians at that point in time. now they've demonstrated, unfortunately that they're still prepared to use this stuff, what's left of it, and it's vitally important that the international community stand up and stop it, and there again, it's really up to russia. assad is their client. russia's assad's guarantor.
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they have it within their pow to tell him to knock it off. and by the way, i would think that vladimir putin is livid with bashar al assad. there was no need for him to do this. the russians helped him get the upper hand in the civil war, and he has now gratuitously used these horrific weapons. it's a huge embarrassment to russia. the administration should continue to put russia on the spot. and there's an opportunity here, an opportunity to leverage what the president did last night with diplomacy to get the russians to rein in assad, to stop the use of these weapons, to get the air force on the ground, and hopefully, to even get into some kind of negotiation that could lead to the end of the civil war. >> well, assad's been pretty clear on this interview he gave to a corrosiroatian newspaper b the strikes, "there is nothing but victory for us ahead." we can't stop at anything shorter, you know, the syrian state depends on it. so, that begs the question of what diplomacy can do at this point in time. >> that victory can't happen without russia backing him. >> i hear you --
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>> or with iran backing. >> i hear you. you said in your op ed this morning on "the new york times," that putin is livid with assad, you believe. so, how does the u.s. exploit that? when tillerson goes to moscow tuesday, how does the u.s. exploit exploit that? >> i think you tell the russians, look, we'll continue to hold them accountable for assad's actions. we are counting on them to enforce the agreement that they helped broker in 2013 on the chemical and biological weapons, and that the time is now to really move toward peace. you know, this is going to have a lot more blowback on russia. russia has a large muslim population, mostly sunni muslim. there are many muslims, sunni muslims, in the caucasus in central asia, and they see russia being implicit with as d assad. that's going to start to have blowback on them. this terrible attack on the st. petersburg subway apparently was undertaken by an ethnic uzbek who was radicalized by the civil war in syria. so russia has a reason to
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extricate itself from that. we can help them do that. >> tony blinken, former deputy secretary of state, good to have you with us. >> thank you, poppy. >> thank you very much. so, the response to the syria attack is pouring in on capitol hill. that's not all. right now we're closing in on that vote. we will have the president swearing in his supreme court nominee, neil gorsuch, a little bit later today. usaa gives me the and the security just like the marines did. the process through usaa is so effortless, that you feel like you're a part of the family. i love that i can pass the membership to my children. we're the williams family, and we're usaa members for life.
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so, house minority leader nancy pelosi urging speaker paul ryan to call the house back into session to debate the authorization of the use of military force, of course,
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following those u.s. air strikes in syria overnight. pelosi saying just a short time ago that the president's actions and any response demand that we immediately do our duty. >> it is a very busy day on capitol hill. you're looking at live pictures right now. that's the senior senator from utah, orrin hatch. final debate on the confirmation of judge neil gorsuch to be the next justice on the supreme court. that vote will happen within the next hour, and he will be confirmed in just the next few minutes. but first, i want to go to cnn congressional correspondent phil mattingly, who's watching all this from capitol hill. the congressional reaction, phil, to the action overnight. >> reporter: well, we've just learned that there will be a 1:00 p.m. closed-door briefing with all senators, republicans and democrats, so that will be pretty much the last thing these senators do before leaving for spring recess. as you noted, the vote on neil gorsuch is at 11:30. that is expected to be approved. but the big question, and really, everybody i'm talking to, senators and staff, are talking about the syrian strikes. i think an interesting moment
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was on the senate floor, senator john cornyn, the number two-ranked republican, said he welcomed the demonstration of the american commitment based on what happened last night, but he added, what comes next is harder. and i think that's the biggest question right now. you talk to a lot of members who either were called last night by the white house or white house officials or found out about this the same way we did, and they want to know, what's the strategy and what happens next in syria? most members i'm talking to say they have been told there is no expectation of any new strikes any time soon. if that could change, they want to find out those things. they want to know the strategy going forward. and as you noted, poppy when it comes to nancy pelosi, they want to know when the debate on any future authorization of future military force will occur. as i noted, all members are leaving for two weeks on russ in the next couple hours, so those questions are outstanding, they have no answers, and i think that's going to be a lot of what senators are asking in this private secure briefing at 1:00 p.m., guys. >> phil mattingly on the hill with all of that, thank you very much. let's talk more about this with
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alabama republican senator richard shelby. it's nice to have you on, sir, especially today. just to get you on the record on this, are you supportive of the president's actions, the air strikes overnight? >> i'm very supportive. i think that it was a measured response to what happened with the chemical weapon attack on innocent civilians and so forth, but we've got to know what's going to come next. we've got a bad situation in the middle east. russia's a player there, we're a player there, and others. but assad needs to go, and the sooner the better. and i think that should be the topic of some international movements. >> you know, senator -- and we're going to talk about what happens next in a second. it is interesting that as of five days ago, the policy of this administration was that assad didn't have to go. and it's an interesting point, because you're supportive of the action overnight, but bashar al assad, he was a very bad guy before this week. he was attacking his own people before this week using chemical weapons.
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so, should this attack that happened overnight from the united states have happened sooner? >> well, sometimes you have to create a dynamic, and assad created the dynamic to bring the world down on him by using chemical weapons, violated international law and everything, and -- >> but he had done that a long time ago. >> absolutely. hey, he's a bad actor. his father was a bad actor. look what he's done, brutalizing his own people. we should do everything we can to stop this. we shouldn't go it alone, but he needs to go. >> i just want to get an answer to john's question, though, and that is, should this have happened before? because after that attack in august of 2013, you and many other, many other members of congress, democrats and republicans, didn't want to hold a vote on the authorization of the use of military force. you said that you thought president obama failed to assure us that an attack would not further destabilize an already unstable part of the world.
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should this have happened back then? >> first of all, looking back -- i thought then and i know now that president obama and his administration was very weak, they were very vague on what they would do. what president trump needs to do next is have a comprehensive plan to get rid of assad and try to let the russians know that we're not just going to be the only player in that area. >> senator, and certainly, president obama's administration has come under criticism for what it did or did not do in syria. you said president trump needs to send a clear message. what is his syria policy? i think it's a fair question, because -- >> well, i think -- >> -- what he ran on was very different than what you saw overnight. if someone asked you to articulate the white house policy on syria this morning, could you? >> i don't think they have a policy yet, but they'd better have one because things are probably not going to get better in the syria area there. they're going to get worse, and we're going to be involved one way or the other, so we need a policy. we need to know what it is. the president ought to articulate it to the congress
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and the american people, and we should respond, if it's a good one. >> given the most recent chemical weapons attack last week on these innocent civilians, you've got dozens dead, including children, horrifying images to see. you know, not that long ago, in 2015, when asked about the refugee situation and syrian refugees coming into the united states, you said, "the syrian refugees, we don't need those people in this country." do you still feel that way, senator? >> well, we certainly don't need people that would be terrorists. we should vet them. we are a nation of immigrants. we benefit from immigration, but we should know who's coming into this country, and a lot of people were coming from syria then, probably now, we know very little about them, and that was my point. >> it is a two-year vetting process for people from syria, some of the strictest in the world. and again, just given the situation these people are facing reeface ing right now, the victims of atrocities, do you feel we need to be more welcoming? >> i think that we need to bring
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civility, if we can, to the area. that's a very difficult thing to do, because if we don't, you're going to have thousands, if not millions of refugees. >> sounds like you would not change your position on that at this point. senator richard shelby, we appreciate you coming on. thank you. >> thank you. >> all right, the russian leader, vladimir putin, he calls the u.s. strikes in syria an act of aggression, but other countries have a different response. stay with us. whoa! you're not taking these. hey, hey, hey! you're not taking those. whoa, whoa! you're not taking that. come with me. you're not taking that. you're not taking that. you're not taking that. mom, i'm taking the subaru. don't be late. even when we're not there to keep them safe, our subaru outback will be. (vo) love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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break thand dry roots with l'oréal's new extraordinary clay. this hair rebalancing system with 3 refined clays... purifies oily roots... hydrates dry ends. for up to 48 hours of fresh hair. l'oréal's extraordinary clay. from l'oréal hair expert/paris. all right, a pretty disappointing jobs report this morning, and of course, uncertainty across the middle east sending a lot of mixed signals to wall street as the market opens today. crude oil prices spiking
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overnight on news of those u.s. air strikes in syria. syria not an oil producer, folks. that's not what this is about. it's about geography. it's about the strait of hormuz, where 20% of the world's oil passes through. and when you have intention the region, that complicates things. >> and the jobs report was a bit of a disappointment. only 98,000 jobs added last month, well below expectations. cnn's cristina alesci here with that. >> we're seeing a lot of fluctuation in the market this morning because investors are digesting a lot of information, but two key takeaways here -- geopolitical risks are out there. it's really hard to price them in. you can't do that until they actually happen. the u.s. air strikes on syria were a reminder of that. but investors quickly turned to the jobs report this morning, which was a mixed report, right? because we had unemployment actually fall to 4.5%, but the number of jobs, as you indicated, john, is well below what we've seen over the past few months. 98,000 jobs is not a strong number. retail took a particularly hard hit, losing 30,000 jobs.
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so not good. one bright spot was wages. i mean, wages at 2.7%, not bad, given the fact that during the recovery, that number was really holding steady at 2%. bottom line, economists are not seeing all negative things this morning. what they're saying is, basically, look, maybe this is an indication that the job market is pretty fully baked in, that there isn't really room to create a lot more jobs, and this is just one month. maybe the bad snowstorm in march had an impact here, so maybe it was a blip. so, all of these things, they're taking it in stride but not good news for trump because he wants to create about 200,000 jobs a month, and 98,000 is well short of that. >> not even close. >> it is interesting seeing the market not moving very far down. in fact, it's up a bit right now. because typically, investors do not like uncertainty, and apparently they don't view this military action overnight as contributing to uncertainty very much, else you would see a big market drop, which often comes with military action. >> that's a really good point. thank you for the reporting. we'll keep an eye on it all day,
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of course. all right, also following these u.s. air strikes overnight, we want to remind you just of the humans, the real toll behind all of this. the president said the stories, the images from the chemical weapons attack are what led to his decision. the words he used, "choking the lives out of these people," stories of abdul hamid yusuf, a father who lost his entire family this week in the chemical weapons attack. this is yusuf crying at the grave of his twin children who were killed following that. yusuf also lost his wife, his brothers and cousin from this assad regime attack. this is yusuf talking about it. >> translator: i found that the atmosphere wasn't good for breathing. it was difficult to breathe. i gave my kids to their mother, and i said, stay here. i went over to help my neighbor's kids. every time i would find someone,
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i'd see them fall over. i went to my parents' house. i tried to help my first brother, and he was martyred on the spot. i went to my second brother, kadeem, and he died, too. i went to see my kids and they were martyred, too. the foam was on their mouths and there were convulsions. they had all been on the floor. >> and that is the human toll. we'll be right back. [student] i can just quit school and get a job. [ex student] daddy's here. [wife] hi [dad] hey buddy [son] hey dad [wife] i think we can do this. [chancellor] adam baily. [chancellor] adam baily.
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all right, we have new reaction coming in from russia to the u.s. attack in syria overnight, this from the prime minister, dmitry medvedev. he said the attack put the
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united states and russia on the brink of military clashes. he added, despite the u.s. policy of a joint fight with a common enemy, isis, the trump administration has proven that it will fiercely fight against the legal government of syria. again, that from russia. >> yeah, another divide, a widening gap between the u.s. and russia on all of this. we're getting a lot of reaction this morning from around the world. the united kingdom, prime minister theresa may very supportive of this strike, also france and germany, saying mass crimes cannot go unpunished. other u.s. allies like canada, australia, italy, calling the strike proportional. meanwhile, syria saying the strike makes the u.s. an ally of isis. russia calling it an act of aggression. china and iran also opposing it. here to weigh in, no one better than fareed zakaria, host of "fareed zakaria gps." so nice to have you here with us live this morning. how does this change the situation fundamentally in syria? and do you believe that a diplomatic solution, pathway to
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peace, is any more real or possible now? >> it doesn't really change the fundamental situation in syria, and that, you know, that is the one problem with this, which is that it puts the united states on the scale in the middle of the syrian civil war. it seems as though we are now opposed to assad and are trying to find a way to get him out, but he is still very powerful. this is an airfield, a very limited strike. the further complication here is, the reaction, as you guys pointed out very well, is that you have russia, iran, china on one side, condemning the u.s. attack. the most important thing is russia and iran, because trump had said as a candidate, his one obsession was to defeat isis. >> yeah. >> the countries that are fighting isis or could potentially fight isis are iran, russia, the syrian government and the iraqi government. so, your most natural allies to take on isis, the people who are
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fighting isis on the ground right now are shiite militias, iranian militias, the syrian government, the iraqi forces. most of them are opposed to this strike. you have driven a wedge between the people who could help you fight isis and, you know, your natural allies. so, that's the one complication here, because once this is done, a few weeks from now, we'll get back to -- the united states will get back to its principal objective in that region, which is defeating isis. but now it will not have a cooperative russia, it will not have a cooperative iran, it will not have cooperative militias on the ground. what happens then? >> and we simply do not know what the trump administration's policy will be, and we don't know what it is today effectively. we know they carried out air strikes overnight as a reaction to bashar al assad's chemical attack, but we don't really know how much they'll do to remove him from power. we don't really know how adamantly they feel about removing him from power. and we don't know what the military posture will be in the coming days and weeks. >> you're exactly right, john. i mean, it's important to
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remember that a day before, a day before this american attack, after the syrian attack had taken place, after the chemical weapons attack, sean spicer said we don't think we should be calling for the removal of assad. that doesn't reflect the realities on the ground. and the trump administration's position had been, the obama administration was wrong to be calling for the removal of assad. we want assad to help us destroy isis. now, after the attacks, the secretary of state and national security adviser essentially reversed that policy in one day, in one briefing. they said, no, no, we now want assad to go, we want to go to geneva, we want a political solution that gets him out. but the question is, does that hold? you know, with this administration, you keep wanting to hear from donald trump. >> yeah. >> because there are so many contradictory, frankly, incoherent strands, that only he can clarify. is he now back on board with what is, frankly, the obama
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administration policy, which is we're not going to militarily try to dispose assad, but we want him to go. >> fareed, why do you believe bashar al assad would do this? why would he use sarin gas on his people the same week that nikki haley and rex tillerson basically all but said to him, you can stay? >> i think he got overconfident. and i think, frankly, the effect of some of those statements by the trump administration must have given him cause to be confident. look at the way assad must have looked at it. he was back on his heels a couple of years ago. he had consolidated power. the russian intervention had helped him. he was gaining strength, and then the trump administration comes in and says, we're going to hand syria over to assad. assad can do what he wants. we don't believe we should be involved. last week, secretary tillerson said it's up to the syrian people to decide who govz them -- >> it's not. >> as if they're holding primaries in syria. so, all that must have given him confidence. and remember, he is a brutal
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dictator who has been trying to demonstrate to his people the price of opposing me is very, very high. and this regime, the syrian regime, has been pretty brutal about that to try to make people understand -- >> that is his foreign policy, in fact. fareed zakaria, great to have you with us. thank you very much. we need to learn a lot more from this administration. we are following the fallout from the missile strike overnight, also what appears to be some kind of vehicle attack in sweden. a lot going on there. a lot going on there. stay with us. -- captions by vitac -- the disaster that strikes a country, you do see that people care. people were dying. we have to do something about this. we have something in development, so we'll accelerate. i think it was really necessary for people, companies to step up and try to do something about this.
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hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. we are following breaking news. any minute now, we will hear for the first time today from president trump, speaking to a changed world after ordering the first direct u.s. attack on the syrian regime since the country's civil war broke out six years ago. also moments from now, the united nations security council is set to gather on this very issue. here's what we know right now about the operation overnight. 59 tomahawk cruise missiles launched from u.s. warships in the


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