tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN April 8, 2017 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
. we're live in the cnn newsroom. i'm ana cabrera in new york. up first, the syrian air base pounded by dozens of u.s. tomahawk missiles is back in business tonight. you're looking at new video. jets moving less than 24 hours after president trump's strike. they are easy and inexpensive to fix, donald trump tweeted. and the aftermath of new bombings na happened north of that airfield. the same town where 89 people died this week.
it's not clear who launched the air strikes. we know russia and syria planes have gone after rebels in this area and 16 civilians have been killed in this latest attack. meanwhile russia is sending a warship with cruise missiles to the area. the pentagon questioning whether russia was complicit in the syrian chemical attack as the president slammed president trump's action as an act of aggression. we have a team of reporters covering each angle of the story. clarissa ward is live in the area. russia said america has no proof they used clepsz. they said removing assad was not
the priority, president trump said. >> well, there's any number of reasons for using the chemical weapons. the president has been torturing and maiming and bombing and shooting his own people for years now and has killed hundreds of thousands of them. some believe perhaps he chose to gas his own people at this time for two reasons. one, possibly he felt somehow empowered that the international community had given up on trying to solve syria, that no one was essentially trying to stop him as he continued on his winning streak and two, potentially that he was also empowered after the victory in aleppo to the extent it can be called a victory, because nothing really remains of much of that city to this day, that perhaps he felt he wanted to focus on idlib province, the rebel-held area,
the last rent-held strong hold in the northern part of the country. others have suggested it's possible after the comments we heard from secretary of state rex tillerson when he said it's not for america to say the president must go, it's for the syrian people. after that, maybe he thought nobody occasioned anymore. as to whether this will have an impact, that remains to be seen. it looks like the u.s. does have more leverageleverage at this point. i think this meeting this week between rex tillerson and russia counterpart sergey lavrov will determine what happens. >> thank you. let's bring in our cnn international correspondent matthew chance who was in moscow. we learned that secretary of state rex tillerson called the russian foreign ministers today.
what are the expectations for that visit? >> i think it was always going to be a controversial visit, of course. rex tillerson was coming here originally as somebody who was seen as incredibly close to the kremlin. he was awarded the order of friendship when he was the ceo of the oil company exxon. the controversy surrounding this visit, though, just a few days later, in fact, is that he's the secretary of state of a country that has struck hard against the biggest ally of russia in the middle east, and that obviously has generated its own momentum and its own controversy. the content of a telephone conversation that took place at the state department tonight has been tightlipped about it. the kremlin has let it all out. they've given us a readout of what was discussed. said that the foreign ministers
of russia stressed that the attack on a country whose government is fighting terrorism. that's how they characterize the government of bash oar al assad is counterprotective and plays into the hands of extremist t. the foreign minister said that the allegations that chemical weapons were used by the syrian military in that attack in southern idlib do not correspond to reality. they're doubling down on this version of events they put out before, which is that there were no chemical weapons involved on the part of the syrian military, any chemicals were spilled when the syrian military carried out an air strike on the storage of the rebels and their chemical munitions were causing the loss of light. it will be an interesting meeting between rex tillerson and his russian counterpattern and putin as well.
>> matthew, claries i have thanks to both of you. u.s. ambassador to the u.s. nikki haley has been outspoken. in a brand-new interview with our jake tapper, haley talks about the white house's plan moving forward and where the administration's position on president bashar al assad stands. here's part of the interview. >> is jet stream change in syria now the official policy of the united states? >> there's multiple priorities. it's getting assad out is not the only priority. so what we're trying to do is obviously defeat isis. secondly, we don't see a peaceful syria with ie sad in there. thirdly, get the iran influence out. finally, move towards a political solution. at the end of theed day this is a complicated situation. a political solution will have to happen. we know that it is not going to be -- there's not any sort of option where a political solution's going to happen with assad at the head of if regime.
if you look at his actions and look at the situation, it's going to be hard to see a government that's peaceful and stable with assad. >> but is the position of the trngs that he cannot be ruler of syria anymore, regime change is the policy? >> well, regime change is something that we think is going to happen, because all of the parties are going to see that assad is not the leader that needs to be there for syria. >> right now to discuss, advisor to four u.s. president's, david goldbergin, retired air force kernel cedric lay on the and bob bear, a former cia operative. kernel, you heard from ambassador hailly there. >> in a word, no. i think it's going to take a lot of work. it may not necessarily just be the u.s. military and shouldn't be just the u.s. military but if
we want regime change in syria, we're going to have to commit ourselves to that and that means that u.s. forces are going to have to be used one way or the other. >> bob, should that be a priority for the u.s. to get rid of al assad? >> i don't think it should. assad is symbolic of syria, there's about 80 generals who play key roles in this. he's not the only one it's a minority community that govern the country. they've got a tight hold on damascus and other major cities. getting rid of assad isn't going to make any difference and it's not good for the u.s. to be in the middle of a civil war. my feeling is the only solution really is to take a country like syria and set up a no-fly zone and essentially partition that area. >> david, rex tillerson is
headed to russia next week. it was supposed to be a meeting that had been set up a while ago that maybe didn't involve syria at that time. now that has changed clearly in light of the hard line that tillerson took, that russia was either competent or even complicit in the chemical attack. >> it's been hard to follow all this. i think for all the satisfaction that so many of us draw from giving us give assad a punch in the nose and some wanted a stronger response from the obama administration. so they've been welcoming this. it's hard to follow whether there's any strategy at all. during the civil war, it was so much change hang so rapidly. lincoln said the policy is to have no policy. 10 days ago they said we're
going to let assad stay, it's the best way to bring down isis and we can't get rid of him, anyway. now he sounds like obama. he has to go before we can get peace. i don't know. i think the world is very, very uncertain what the strategy of the united states is and that rex tillerson is going to have some -- he'll have some tough arguments from the russians and there's going to be a lot of time spent figuring out just what it is we're going to be committing to. this conversation tonight, are we really going to send in troops either in an international coalition or alone to go after assad? that seems very far-fetched to me given the current circumstances. >> i want to the play another clip from ambassador nikki haley. >> he won't stop here. if he needs to do more, he will do nor. really now what happens depends on how everyone responds to what happened in syria and make sure that we start moving towards a political solution and we start
finding peace in that area. >> colonel, she said the president will do more if he needs to. what do you see as options? >> i think one of the things we can look at is more of a deechtic solution. in the best of all worlds, if president trump was able to convince putin of russia that assad had to go but that he could actually have somebody else of the same religious group, somebody who would be in essence beholden to russia just like assad is in assad's place, that might be a solution that everybody would consider kind of a win-win for themselves. it might not necessarily be a win-win for everybody involved, especially the syrian people but diplomatically, that might be the way this works out. >> i'm wondering, bob, do you think it is wise not to choreograph, not to talk about what's next? >> you know, i served the syria for many years. i was there last year.
it's probably one of the most complicated countries in the middle east ethnically, religiously. it's a sectarian war. you know, it's unfortunate -- what's unfortunate is we haven't gotten the russians to to table to talk about this reasonably and the turks as well. i don't think we can fix this without the russians. what worries me at this point that unintentionally we're going to hit a russian unit. this thing could es congratulate very quickly overnight and we could be in a hot war with the russians over syria. i think that's -- yes, we've got to go through diplomacy, whatever that looks like. we have to do this with the russians and the iranians. a lot of assets there, including hezbollah, which was fighting under the iran flag. >> david, any risk in responding too quickly? do you feel like the action that the u.s. has taken so far made sense?
>> the actions we've taken so far does make sense. it would -- it would be reassuring to a lot of diplomats and analysts if it took place within the context of a firm strategy. if there was some sense when nikki haley said if we do more, the president will do that. do more in the service of what end? that's extremely unclear tonight. it's easy to hit somebody to start with but it's a lot tougher to figure out where you go after. that's where we are right now. they've got to figure that out to know whether they're going to commit more troops and forces. the russians are not going to leave. the russians are there to stay and they have to be forced out. they have a port there, it's the only port on the mediterranean. it's important for them to have the large presence. right now, the russians and iranians and assad seem to feel they have the upper hand. >> in fact, the minister said
that the u.s. has no proof in a the chemical weapons car used by the assad regime. the russians have limited allies in the woshltd, so who do you think they were speaking to when they say that? >> i think they're speaking to what we call their base and that means they're giving us kind of a consumption for their own people, the tiens of things that some of us talk about in that way. i would say that that's a fat ent false, let's be blunt about it. what you're dealing with here is a situation where chemical weapons were, in fact, used. it violates international law and the russians do know that this is first of all a serious issue but it also can color their relations with everybody else. >> colonel wright and bob bear, thanks to both of you. david, you'll be back in just a moment. a quick programming note. you can catch jake tapper's full interview with u.n. ambassador
nikki haley later. does this picture tell the story of a white house shakeuppant to happen? the new intrigue surrounding trump's staff. as the president promises to punish people for leaks, we'll look back at famous leakers throughout history who have shaped washington. "now my boyfriend wants to talk on sundays. just so many words." your boyfriend's got it bad. maybe think about being single until the start of the season.
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. we're getting a behind the scenes look at president trump's first military strike against a foreign government. the white house reliesed this photo of the makeshift situation room at the mar-a-lago resort in florida. tonight there is growing speculation that some of the faces in this picture may be headed for the door or at least be getting reassigned. sarah murray has details. sarah? >> reporter: amid the most consequential moments of president trump's young presidency, one thing was clear to him, he's not happy with the team around him. now a staff shakeup may be
afoot. some staffers are in tenuous territory. as an idea logical battle rages in the white house. trump's chief strategist steve bannon is facing an uncertain future and has become increasingly isolated in the quest wing, some say. trump took an unexpected leap on the foreign policy this week in ordering a military strike in syria. >> we theep hope that as long a america stands for justice, peace and harmony will in the end prevail. the move, highlighting the fault lines emerging between the nationalist wing between the trump white house led by bannon and with jashtd kusher in. the riff seems to be if latest indication that the america first group is losing sway. >> i you no have responsibility and i will have that responsibility and carry it very
proudly. >> it's an abrupt change of tone on trump from day one when he ham ertz home this message. j from this day forward it's going to be only america first, america first. >> but trump has grown frustrated with in-fighting among top aides and his inability to make more progress on his domestic agenda. the relationship between bannon and kushner has grown more stressful with bannon remarking that he's locked in an unwinnable battle with trump's family. he was removed from the principal committee. this as kushner was brushing up on foreign policy. the chief strategist isn't the only team member who cook on the ropes. >> he's a star. i knew that a long time ago.
now trump confidantes are floating names for replacements. among them, gary kohn. also, kevin mccarthy. he's quietly built a relationship with trump and has experience on the hill. a source cautioned there have been no serious talks about him taking the job. on thursday, the president shag rugged aside staff shakeup rumors aboard air force 1 insisting he's already shaking up washington. >> i think we have shaken them up. i think we've had one of the most successful presidencies in history. >> officially the white house is denying that there could be any change to top staffers. lindsay walters said once again, this is a completely false story driven by people who want to distract from the success in this administration. back to you. >> all right. sarah murray. thanks. we're getting word that trump has told his son-in-law and
steve bannon to "cut it out." that's what senior white house officials are saying tonight. coming as we're told the two are causing major riffs in the white house. david gergen is back with us. you worked in four different white houses. what do you think is causing this tension between bannon and trump and curb nerp? >> the fact that the first 35 days have not been successful. he had a very good week this past week. he had a couple of good days with guj judge gorsuch. any mtd with the lowest approval ratings in the first 100 days and has so little to show in terms of laepgtive accomplishment ought to do something to change, a major course correction. donald trump had three changes
in his campaign team. this is the way he likes to do it. he likes confrontation. he likes tension but he doesn't like it making him look bad. >> it's competition among people because he think it elevates the chance for a performance. >> right. >> has there been -- >> absolutely. >> go ahead, david. >> i was going to say, the word has come out that he told bannon and you know, and kushner to work it out. he sat down with priebus and apparently they reached some kind of truce. i don't one knows how long it will last. i think the critical thing is that the forces represented by bannon are sort of on a downhill slide in terms of authority in the white house, whereas the forces around kushner are going uphim. he's taking more and more responsibility and are gary kohn from goldman sachs. the goldman sachs team has taken
some major power in the white house. they're very smart people. they know how to run things and they're rising to the hop with gary kohn leading it. he may be the next chief of staff. wouldn't that be interesting to see an alum of goldman, the former president of goldman run his white house? >> i wonder what that would mean for the president's agenda especially with steve bannon on the way down. he hasn't been demoted or anything like that yet but in terms of his influence being lessened? >> that's a good question. i think it goes back to what their strategy in syria, what their strategy in the middle east. we really aren't sure. but certainly if the traditionalists have their way, it would signal to a lot of conservatives that the president is going to move more to the center, more to the left overall in his planning. one of the arguments that steve bannon has had against kohn and
curb her and ivanka and dean powell, who's also an alum of goldman is, quote, you're democrats. we got elected by having this hard-hitting agenda and you want to make peace with china and we think china is ultimately going to be an enemy of the united states. so it does have consequences in terms of policy. i think that's what a lot of the fights are about is about the direction the president should actually take. kushner is saying why don't we have a major course correction in terms of policy which would be very important in saul sorts of fronts. >> david gergen, we always reach your advice and analysis. we'll talk more as we see the situation play out. >> all right. >> massive protest in the capital of venezuela. thousands of people furious at the government. they want elections now and are fight with riot police in caracas. details next. what if there was a paint...
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. breaking news. anti-government protests in venezuela, one day after a top opposition runner was banned from running. demonstrators marching in support of the opposition leader. here's more. >> reporter: this is not the first day of protests. it all started on tuesday when opposition leaders started protesting against a decision by the government to essentially take the legislative powers out of the national assembly and take them into their own hands and then to complicate things even more, a very popular opposition leader was told by
the government on thursday that he was banned from doing any political work. it would be similar to bernie sanders being told by the government that his position is opposite, he is barred from doing any political work for 15 jeers. the images we're getting from caracas are very, very violent. we see the venezuelan national guard clashing with protesters in some of the major thoroughfares around the venezuelan capital. the nascar has been using these images, canisters of tear gas and also water tanks to fight the protesters. this is not only happening in the capital but in some other cities throughout the country. just to make a little bit of history, venezuela has been suffering from shortages of the most basic food products and medicines and people are very angry and they demand a change in government.
but the president -- the government of president nicolai says they are democratcally elected and they are not about to go anywhere anytime soon. >> all right. i want to bring in stefano who is a tremendous lance journalist on the ground in venezuela now. thank you for spending time with us. it looks a little more quiet in your picture. describe for us what you have witnessed. >> yes. so today was again as just before me the first time in less than ten days that people took to the street. today was the biggest and most violent protest so far. we have seen huge oppression from tear gas and wide use of pepper spray and water cannon. the protesters nornlly gather in the east of caracas, which is where i'm standing right now and normally try to get towards the west of the city, which is where the main government buildings are and they are blocked, time
and time again, they never managed to get towards the government building. earlier today i was in front of the office of the main opposition who got banned for 15 years from office and his office has been set on fire today. so it's completely burned. we were right there in front of it about a couple of hours ago. the situation here is precipitating quickly and protests have turned ugly. >> and when you talk about this opposition leader,ingening p enrique, how big a threat is he to the president? >> reporter: sorry, ana, i couldn't hear that. there was a big truck coming out after me. >> understandable. i was wondering if you could tell us anymore about the main opposition, enrique. is he a threat? >> yes. and the truck behind me was a truck from the nascar, so they're starting to shout at
him. the situation is getting really, really tense. still, after ten hours of protests, people are on street, trying to turn fire and shoutsing at the national guard, which is what is just hang behind me. >> we do hope you stay safe there, stefano. i want to bring back rafael. what more can you tell us referee about the opposition leader and what kind of a threat he might pose to the current administration here? >> he's a very charismatic leader. he narrowly lost when he ran against the late president hugo chaves. this time around he has support from opposition. he's only 44 years old and he has managed to get together a very important coalition. he's a fire brand. he has been talking about the fact that he is not running for himself but he is running to bring a regime change in
venezuela, a change to real democracy. because he says that all three branches of government had been sequestered by the government, the president and maduro. meanwhile, the president himself has made it difficult for him to operate politically. he's been banned for 15 years to do any political work. >> definitely, an intense situation on the ground right now in venz wailo. thanks to both stefano and rafael for those reports. still ahead at this hour, as president trump prepares for a critical trip to china, look at how his daughter ivanka could be the secret weapon to friendlier diplomat ties.
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determined. he tweeted this morning -- it was a great honor to have president see jinpingage his wife. at this point, friendship and good will starts like a good starting point, right? >> reporter: it seems that way, ana. donald trump can be brash and maybe sometimes perceived as arrogant in front of a big crowd of people. but one-on-one he tends to be very charming. these are the areas where he excels, when he's talking to somebody on a personal level he's affable, often funny. that's what appears to have occurred in the meeting with
president xi. if you compare it to the reviews after donald trump's meeting with angela merkel where reports of rockiness, we're getting opposite reports of this particular meeting. as you point out they still have a long way to go in terms of all the very many things that trump was critical of when it came to china touring the campaign. >> it wasn't necessarily anything tangible in terms of progress or any deals made, so to speak, during that meeting. but i want to play an adorable highlight of the chinese president's visit. ivanka's daughter performing a song in mandarin. let's watch together. ♪ kind of hard to hear. you hear her voice, sounds rather pretty and a big smiling
on the president's face. i understand ivanka is very popular in china. she gets favorable media coverage there. is ivanka's daughter going to be the vetd weapon? >> she played an important as she paid a visit to the embassy after the united states failed to recognize the chinese new year in february. as you mentioned, the fact that their children are learning mandarin and speak mandarin is something that the chinese are very impressed by. president xi in particular takes -- is very much appreciative of people who respect and understand chinese culture and tradition. this can only be an asset to the president as he seeks to form this delicate relationship. another one of ivanka's trump singing in mandarin can solve anything is unlikely, but the start of something can only be a
good thing. >> doesn't hurt to build that rap oar as we all know. thank you. still ahead from edward snowden all the way back top deep throat, a look at how washington's history has been paved by leakers. >> you tell me what you know and i'll confirm. i'll point you in the right direction if i can, but that's all. just follow the money. stay with me, mr. parker. when a critical patient is far from the hospital, the hospital must come to the patient. stay with me, mr. parker. the at&t network is helping first responders connect with medical teams in near real time... stay with me, mr. parker. ...saving time when it matters most. stay with me, mrs. parker. that's the power of and.
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find the leakers, he tweeted just a few days, whether that's a deflection or a real complaint, there's one thing no one can dispute. likers have shaped history. cnn's anderson cooper takes a look back. >> the story behind the story and the unmasking of deep throat. >> he was the most famous anonymous source of the 20th sechblly. >> just follow the money. >> mark felt, the high-ranking fbi official who for more than three decades was known to the world only as "deep throat" after helping fuel bob wood bard blockbuster reporting on watergate. >> i shall resign the presidency at noon tomorrow. >> he was neither the first or last washington figure to rock the country with insider knowledge. in the early 1970s, a military analyst named daniel elsburg leaked a top secret study to the new york times. the resulting bombshell known as
the pentagon papers revealed the >> it was worth my going to prison for the rest of my life. >> reporter: charged with espionage and facing 115 years behind bars, he went free after a federal judge dismissed the case citing improper government conduct. in 2003 conservative writer and former cnn host robert novak wrote a "washington post" column blowing the cover of cia operative valerie plame. >> my name was leaked in retaliation against my husband who was a fierce critic of the bush administration and the iraq war. >> reporter: then vice president dick cheney's steve of staff scooter libby was convicted in connection with the leak. his sentence commuted by president bush. seven years later wikileaks posted hundreds of thousands of classified documents on the wars in afghanistan and iraq. a young army private now known
as chelsea manning was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for giving the documents to wikileaks. just before leaving office president obama ordered manning to be released in may of this year. >> the sentence that she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers have received. >> reporter: but there's been no presidential reprieve for edward sn snowden, the form earp nsa contractor whose 2013 revelation of secret government surveillance programs left him fleeing charges of espionage. >> this guy is a bad guy and, you know, there is still a thing called execution. >> reporter: and accepting asylum in, of all places, russia. >> our anderson cooper repo reporting. i want to bring in now cnn senior media correspondent and host of "reliable sources" brian. leaks have revealed some very important developments in our history and have really been news. how difficult is it for the
media to decide when to hold back with information versus putting it out there in front of the public. >> these days a none mounonymou. there are decisions whether to grant anonymity. there are stories based on leaks right now. anderson is describing these kinds of leaks that are whistleblowers, people motivated to inform about secret government programs and a lot of leaks from inside the white house, stories about infighting, between steve bannon, jared kushner and priebus. they're at a basic level, insider gossip. gossip is a good word for it but gossip affects all of us as americans. there's different kinds of leaks and when it comes to what we're hearing from inside the white house, what's dominating the
headlines, those gossipy stories do have impacts on politics. however, we've also heard about russian meddling from these leakers, from these whistleblowers. when the president says find the leakers, it's, in some cases, an attempt to plug the leaks of really important information that we're learning from sources. >> we know at least some of the information that has leaked out is classified information. again, the information about michael flynn being involved in some kind of surveillance, into dental collection. >> it shows many people inside the government are motivated to inform people of what's going on right now. some of these leaks are from people who feel they need to blow the whistle. others are more agenda driven, perhaps anti-trump leaks. >> and let's talk a little bit about the narrative this week and how it shifted. for president trump a lot of people supported how he came out after syria's chemical weapons attack. let's listen to his announcement. >> it is in this vital national
security interest of the united states to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons. there could be no dispute that syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention and ignored the urging of the u.n. security council. >> now the syria strikes certainly changed the focus from the russian investigation. >> i understand why there are viewers that are skeptical or downright cynical wondering if president trump was trying to change what was on the front page. if that's the case, he's not the first president to try to change the narrative about his administration by going and seeking a foreign issue, by taking foreign action to distract from domestic issues.
there's a difference between skepticism and cynicism. we heard commentators here on cnn say this was a presidential moment for president trump that he became trump. it's presidential to fix something. and fixing syria, where would you even start? that's an enormous task. i think it's too soon. >> i think it's too soon to know what this was on thursday, what the president's motives were. we've been told it's because he saw these horrific images and felt compelled to do something. he was overwhelmed by the emotions. i think it's too soon to tell this is one for the history books. >> good to have you. we'll talk to you next hour as well. be sure to catch brian on his show tomorrow morning at 11:00 here on cnn. a quick break and we'll be right back. this is pete's yard. and it's been withered by winter. but all pete needs is scotts turf builder lawn food. it's the fast and easy way to a thick green lawn.
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you are live in the cnn newsroom. i'm ana cabrera. that syrian military base targeted by dozens of missiles. that syrian air base was up and running less than 24 hours after that u.s. surprise attack. syrian warplanes are even taking off and landing again. this video is new video and it comes as the trump administration sends a blunt signal to syria's president bashar al assad that this is not over. i want to you hear what u.s. ambassador to the united nations nikki haley told jake tapper. >> he won't stop here. if he needs to do more, he will do more. really now what happens depend on how everyone responds to what happened in syria and make sure we start moving to a political solution and we start