tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN April 28, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT
but we've got the get tdigital tools to help. now with xfinity's my account, you can figure things out easily, so you won't even have to call us. change your wifi password to something you can actually remember, instantly. add that premium channel, and watch the show everyone's talking about, tonight. and the bill you need to pay? do it in seconds. because we should fit into your life, not the other way around. go to xfinity.com/myaccount -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com all right, happening now at the united nations, a very important moment. the secretary of state, rex tillerson, about to chair a special meeting of the u.n. security council. the topic, north korea and its nuclear program.
this is all happening after the president of the united states, donald trump, issued a stark, provocative warning overnight that the situation could get very, very bad. >> well, there's a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with north korea. absolutely. >> possibility of a major, major conflict, though it comes at the same time we're getting signals in new language from the administration that there is the possibility, or at least they are open to the idea of negotiations. elise labott at the united nations. elise, we are waiting to hear from the secretary of state in a big moment in this debate and discussion with the tensions rising in the korean peninsula. what do you expect to hear this morning? >> reporter: well, john, we expect the u.s. to kind of make culture, secretary tillerson making clear to the international community, this is really the top national security priority for the administration, and that means that they want to handle this problem. they don't want to kick it down
the road, as they say, previous administrations have done. and so, secretary tillerson will be telling the council that if north korea continues with its provocative behavior, we're talking another nuclear test or an icbm, that long-range missile test that could hit the continental united states, they need to be ready to put additional sanctions on north korea. that includes china. that has a lot of leverage on north korea. but at the same time, secretary tillerson is saying that the u.s. wants to have direct talks to solve this problem with north korea. in the past, the u.s. wanted to do it with other nations, china, south korea, japan. now secretary tillerson is walking back that position to say that the u.s. would talk to the north koreans but with some very specific criteria. take a listen to what he told npr this morning. >> what we hope to convince them is you do not need these weapons
to secure the exist of your regime. we've been very -- >> be assure the existence or the continued existence -- >> we have been very clear as to what our objectives are and equally clear what our objectives are not. and we do not seek regime change. we do not seek a collapse of the regime. we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula. >> reporter: and so, the goal here is to get north korea to give up its nuclear weapons and those long-range missiles, but not regime change, and that's something the north koreans have been looking to hear for a long time, so maybe that could calm the real escalating tensions, john. but secretary tillerson definitely here to send a very strong message that the trump administration wants to deal with this problem and doesn't want to delay it any further because u.s. commanders have said that north korea could have that long-range missile to hit the u.s. and the ability to marry it with a small nuclear weapon on it within a couple of years. >> elise labott at the united
nations. on the right-hand side of your screen there, you can see the secretary of state, rex tillerson. he has entered the chamber of the u.n. security council. this meeting is getting under way. we will go back in there the minute the secretary starts speaking. let's go to the white house now. cnn's joe johns is there. not only do we get this sort of policy shift from the secretary of state, joe, but also more words from the president, beyond just major, major conflict on north korea. he sort of talked about kim jong-un in terms that we hadn't really heard before. >> reporter: he certainly did, and i have to underscore that blunt language by the president in the interview with reuters. essentially speaking in blunt terms that there could be war. and it raises a couple questions, first, whether it was intentional to send a signal to north korea about president trump's resolve, or in the alternative, whether the president of the united states and the secretary of state of the united states somehow were not on the same page, because you saw just from elise labott's
reporting there, hey, he's talking about direct talks with north korea. there was something else interesting in that interview as well that was president trump's assessment of kim jong-un. and when you listen very closely to it, it sounds like there's just a bit of empathy there about the position the north korean leader is in. listen. >> he's 27 years old. his father dies. took over a regime. so, say what you want, but that's not easy, especially at that age. i'm not giving him credit or not giving him credit. i'm just saying, that's a very hard thing to do. as to whether or not he's rational, i have no opinion on it. i hope he's rational. >> reporter: one of the more confusing policy points the president touched on there in that interview was the possibility of south korea paying for the thaad missile defense system, which is very controversial, owned by the united states and costs about $1
billion. so, that's raised a bit of a fury in south korea. back to you. >> all right, joe johns at the white house. again, you're looking at live pictures from at the united nations. the united nations security council about to begin a very special meeting on north korea, its nuclear program. we will hear from the u.s. secretary of state very shortly. perhaps he will explain exactly where the united states is this morning on its north korean policy, because we've been getting mixed messages. that's the secretary right there, nikki haley, the u.s. ambassador to the united nations, sitting directly behind him. again, when he starts speaking, we will bring you that live. alex bernstein, political analyst and national reporter for "the new york times," kimberly dozier, analyst and senior national security correspondent for "the daily beast," and author of "ask more: the power of questions to open doors, uncover solutions and spark change," frank sesno, also a member of the cnn hall of
fame. kimberly dozier, secretary of state tillerson overnight suggested he was open to the possibility of direct negotiations with north korea. what are you expecting to hear today from him? >> well, at the u.n., i think what he needs to do is convince people to step up economic sanctions against north korea. so, while he was signaling that he was open, that the united states is open to talk to pyongyang, if they behave properly, that he also is willing to put more measures in place to turn up the heat on north korea. one of the things that they could do is the u.n. has investigated several different organizations, individuals that are thought to be linked to the north korean nuclear regime or other weapons of mass destruction. so, what you could see is the u.n. national security council
working together to put an even stronger raft of sanctions together. if they're not willing, if that gets blocked, then the u.s. has the possibility of implementing some of those sanctions on its own, but it's much stronger coming from the whole body. >> this is secretary of state rex tillerson. you can see him there on the right-hand side of your screen. i don't believe these are his official remarks. can you tell me if they are, because i don't want to miss these? he's just doing introductions right now, procedural things. when he starts speaking in earnest, we will go back to that. alex burns, again, we are waiting to hear from the secretary right now. we've been talking about the mixed messaging or different messaging or the dual messaging we've been getting on north korea. on the one hand, the president warned of a possibility of a major, major conflict. on the other hand -- well, i guess on the same hand, the vice president last week said no direct talks with north korea short of denuclearization, which isn't about to happen, but also now opening the door to the possibility of direct negotiations. now, when you're dealing with foreign policy, you can have the carrot on the stick, but this
white house has also had some issues with mixed messaging on many other fronts, so how can we tell which it is? >> well, in the context of the north korea issue, i would listen to what secretary tillerson says and what secretary mattis says. these are the folks in the administration that really have to measure their words most carefully in these kind of official context -- >> are you suggesting don't listen to what the president of the united states says? >> i'm not saying don't listen to him, but i'm saying take it in the context of his personality and the way he talks, that any u.s. president for the last 65 years could have said it's possible that we would have a major, major conflict with north korea, and it would have been true, but they wouldn't say something like that because that's not something that you say when you're president of the united states by any conventional standard. so i don't know that i would look at the president's comments last night or in this interview as a shift in policy as much as him sort of, you know, freestyling the way he does. and in the same interview, if you were trying to signal that you're preparing for war with north korea, you wouldn't in the same interview say we might go to war with north korea, and by
the way, we're going to undercut our trade deal and defense relationship with south korea, right? that doesn't strike me as extremely strategic. >> frank sesno, comment on what alex burns just said, because it's fairly remarkable. alex is suggesting that if you want to know where the u.s. is really headed on north korea policy, really on any issue, he's saying listen to the secretary of state and defense before you listen to the president of the united states. first of all, do you agree? and if yes, that's a pretty remarkable place to be on day 99 of an administration. >> well, i'm not sure i agree that you don't listen to the president of the united states. he is, after all, the president of the united states -- >> i didn't say don't listen to him, but interpret it in the way that he talks about policy. he was talking about ditching nafta a few days ago, turns out we're not. so, again, i'm not saying his words aren't important. they are very important and they have huge implications for people who hear them around the world in places like south korea and north korea. but as far as trying to deduce a firm and strategic policy stance from the administration, this is not a president who always talks
in a linear way or in a strategic way. >> frank, go ahead. >> no, well, that's exactly what i was going to say. you don't dismiss the words of the president. you have to listen to the words of the president, but this president more than other presidents wings it and is a freelancer and speaks in superlatives and then reels himself back. it's on-the-job training day 99. we'll see where day 100 and on go. but the fact is diplomacy is carrots and sticks, good cop and bad cop. we saw that before war in iraq and before we went into panama. what's significant about what we heard from rex tillerson is a very clear signal, and i actually think it's in concert with what donald trump was saying -- donald trump was saying we could have a major, major conflict, but tillerson is saying, but hang on, we're not trying tomorrow regime change, we're not trying to upset the apple cart here. trump says, you know, maybe it was a tough job to get when you're 27 years old. so, there's an alternative path and they're grabbing him by the lapels and saying listen in and get to the business of diplomacy
and negotiating this away, but there is that firm threat in the background. this is an unconventional president who communicates in unconventional ways, but fundamentally, we've seen this pattern before in major national crises where the administration will convey a very clear signal that we're ready to do what it takes while trying to negotiate a path that averts that. >> i think you guys are all laying out why these comments we're about to hear from the secretary of state are so very important. again, we are watching and waiting for them. and while we do that, frank sesno, you mentioned the sort of on-the-job training of the president. and president trump made some fairly remarkable comments overnight about how hard he is finding the job. he did an interview with reuters, and he basically said it's harder than i thought. listen to this. >> my problem is that i've established a very good personal relationship with president xi. i really feel that he is doing
everything in his power to help us with a big situation. so, i wouldn't want to be causing difficulty right now for him. this is more work than my previous life. i thought it would be easier. >> "this is more work than my previous life. i thought it would be easier." frank, look, every president daunted by the enormity of the task at hand, but he sort of seemed forelorened, like he missed his old life, suggesting that maybe he liked it more. >> well, what he's discovered is that this train that he's on now actually has brakes, and they're called the courts and the congress and they're called the media and they're called public opinion and the opposition party and they're called his own party. and so, the world is a complicated place. health care is complicated. korea is complicated, the koreas, china is complicated. it's easy to rail against these things when you're campaigning. you meet president xi and he's a human being and he talks about his people. and you've got trade and diplomacy and military and all
kinds of things. this is an extraordinary situation! president trump never served this country in any capacity. he's never held office. it's astonishing on-the-job training. so, yeah, it's complicated! it's really hard work. >> and it's only beginning, right? i mean, it's day 99. there are a lot more days to go, so get used to it. kimberly dozier, we also played sound there -- you heard it before, the fact about the job being a little harder than the president thought it would, about the president speaking of his relationship with chinese leader xi jinping. how much of what we hear from the secretary today is directed toward china? >> well, we've already heard some comments in the npr interview that are meant to reassure china. when the secretary says that they're not seeking a reunification of the koreas or a toppling of the north korean regime, because china has messaged in its own way in some of its local english-language newspapers that essentially serve as a way to launch trial balloon for their policy that china might not intervene if the
u.s. strikes north korea's nuclear system, but it wouldn't stand for any attempt at regime change or any sending of south korean or u.s. troops over the north korean border. so, this is a kind of thing that tillerson will be reinforcing today, that they're not trying to threaten china's influence in the region. they're just trying to take a dangerous nuclear actor off the table by taking that weapons program off the table. so, it's a two-pronged message. >> you know, alex burns, if i can jump in with one question not on north korea right now -- and again, we will hear from the secretary of state any minute. you know, if not for north korea, we'd be talking about health care and the failure of republicans to put a vote on the floor today. they are delaying it again. they are losing moderate votes here. can they win them back? let me read you a line from byron, who wrote "it's becoming increasingly clear the republicans have not repealed obamacare because a lot of republicans don't want to repeal obamacare." >> i think it's really, really tough to win those moderate
votes back. to flip from no to yes on this particular bill would involve probably some kind of meaningful concession that would then lose votes on the right, that this is really the sort of lose-lose dilemma that republicans in the house have been in all along. i do think, john, in the big picture -- and this gets to the point of byron's column -- there has not been any large-scale effort on the part of house republicans or the white house to sell the public on the merits of their plan. and if you're not bringing along public opinion, it is really, really tough to go to those, you know, dozen or two dozen members in the middle who have tough races and say, you know, walk the plank with us. >> all right, guys, let's go to the floor of the united nations. secretary of state rex tillerson beginning his remarks on north korea. >> and i thank you for the opportunity to address the security council. according to u.n. security council resolution 2321, the stated objective of this council is north korea's abandonment of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. for the past 20 years,
well-intentioned diplomatic efforts to halt these programs have failed. it is only by first dismantling them that there can be peace, stability, and economic prosperity for all of northeast asia. with each successive detonation and missile test, north korea pushes northeast asia and the world closer to instability and broader conflict. the threat of a north korean nuclear attack on seoul or tokyo is real, and it is likely only a matter of time before north korea develops the capability to strike the u.s. mainland. indeed, the dprk has repeatedly claimed it plans to conduct such a strike. given that rhetoric, the united states cannot idly stand by, nor can other members of this council who are within striking distance of north korean missiles. having for years displayed a pattern of behavior that denies multiple u.n. security council
resolutions, including 2321 and 2270, and erodes global progress on nuclear non-proliferation, there is no reason to think that north korea will change its behavior under the current multilateral sanctions fra framework. for too long, the international community has been reactive in addressing north korea. those days must come to an end. failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences. we have said this before and it bears repeating -- the policy of strategic patience is over. additional patience will only mean acceptance of a nuclear north korea. the more we beside our time, the sooner we will run out of it. in light of the growing threat, the time has come for all of us to put new pressure on north korea to abandon its dangerous path. i urge this council to act
before north korea does. we must work together to adopt a new approach and impose increased diplomatic and economic pressures on the north korean regime. the new campaign the united states is embarking on is driven by our own national security considerations, and it is welcomed by many nations who are concerned for their own security and question why north korea claims the nuclear capabilities for which it has no need. our goal is not regime change, nor do we desire to threaten the north korean people or destabilize the asia-pacific region. over the years, we have withdrawn our own nuclear weapons from south korea and offered aid to north korea as proof of our intent to de-escalate the situation and normalize relations. since 1995, the united states has provided over $1.3 billion in aid to north korea, and we look forward to resuming our
contributions once the dprk begins to dismantle its nuclear weapons and missile technology programs. the dprk for its own sake must dismantle its nuclear missile programs if it wants to achieve the security, economic development, and international recognition that it seeks. north korea must understand that respect will never follow recklessness. north korea must take concrete steps to reduce the threat that its illegal weapons programs pose to the united states and our allies before we can even consider talks. i propose all nations take these three actions beginning today: first, we call on u.n. member states to fully implement the commitments they have made regarding north korea. this includes all measures required in resolutions 2321 and 2270. those nations which have not fully enforced these resolutions
fully discredit this body. second, we call on countries to suspend or downgrade diplomatic relations with north korea. north korea exploits its diplomatic privileges to fund its illicit nuclear missile technology programs and constraining its diplomatic activity will cut off a flow of needed resources. in light of north korea's recent actions, normal relations with the dprk are simply not acceptable. third, we must increase north korea's financial isolation. we must levy new sanctions on dprk entities and individuals supporting its weapons and missile programs and tighten those that are already in place. the united states also would much refer countries and people in question to own up to their lapses and correct their behavior themselves, but we will
not hesitate to sanction third-country entities and individuals supporting the dprk's illegal activities. we must bring maximum economic pressure by severing trade relationships that directly fund the dprk's nuclear and missile program. i call on the international community to suspend the flow of north korean guest workers and to impose
bans on north korean imports, especially coal. we must all do our share, but china, accounting for 90% of north korean trade, china alone has economic leverage over pyongyang that is unique, and its role is, therefore, particularly important. the u.s. and china have held very productive exchanges on this issue, and we look forward to further actions that build on what china has already done. lastly, as we have said before, all options for responding to future provocation must remain
on the table. diplomatic and financial levers of power will be backed up by willingness to counteract north korean aggression with military action, if necessary. we'd much prefer a negotiated solution to this program, but we are committed to defending ourselves and our allies against north korean aggression. this new pressure campaign will be swiftly implemented and painful to north korean interests. i realize some nations for which a relationship with north korea has been in some ways a net positive may be disinclined to implement the measures of pressure on north korea, but the catastrophic effects of a north korean nuclear strike outweigh any economic benefits. we must be willing to face the hard truths and make hard choices right now to prevent disastrous outcomes in the future. business as usual is not an
option. there is also a moral dimension to this problem. countries must know by now that helping the north korean regime means enabling cruelty and suffering. north korea feeds billions of dollars into a nuclear program it does not need while its own people starve. the regime's pursuit of nuclear weapons does not serve its own national security or the well-being of a people trapped in tyranny. i ask the community of nations to help us preserve security and protect human dignity. in one of my first trips as america's secretary of state, i looked across the dmz at the haunted land of north korea. beyond the border is a nation of sorrow, frozen in time. while the world sees the gleaming buildings of pyongyang, a blight of oppression and starvation has swept this land for over 60 years. but even though the present condition of that country is
bleak, the united states believes in a future for north korea. these first steps toward a more hopeful future will happen most quickly if other stakeholders in the region and the global security join us. for years, north korea has been dictating the terms of its dangerous course of action. it is time for us to retake control of the situation. we ask the members of this council and all other partners to implement a new strategy to denuclearize north korea. thank you. i'll resume my function now as president of the council. i now give the floor to his excellency, mr. fumio kushdida, minister of foreign affairs, japan. >> thank you, mr. tillerson. i would like to begin by expressing -- >> all right, that was secretary of state rex tillerson, saying
there is no reason to think north korea will change its behavior under the current policies in place by the united nations, and failure to act now, says the secretary, could have catastrophic consequences. joining me now, elise labott, who was at the united nations, michelle kosinski at the state department and also with us, kimberly dozier and frank sesno. elise labott, in terms of new policy there, the secretary of state talked about a new pressure campaign on north korea that he says will be quickly implemented and difficult for the north koreans to take. >> that's right, john. essentially forcing north korea to the table. it's very similar to the campaign that the u.s. tried to institute against iran several years ago, which led to those, you know, breakthrough nuclear talks and that nuclear deal. i think it will be a little bit more difficult for north korea, because they're not as much of a member of the international community as iran was, but essentially, he's talking about everybody cutting north korea
off, be it trade, be it diplomatically, any effort to deny the north korean regime any type of revenue that could fund their nuclear and missile programs. and so, that's, whether it's the guest workers that go into various countries and send money home, diplomatic missions are also seen as revenue for the regime, and so, it's not only sanctions, it's these diplomatic measures really squeezing north korea off from the international community and saying to members of the international community, if you do not do this, you, too, will suffer the consequences. and for the first time, i think the secretary was very clear that the u.s. is prepared to issue third-party sanctions against companies and banks that do business with north korea. and when he says that, he's really talking about the chinese, because he mentioned that china has 90% of north korean trade, and that's something that i understand
president trump was very struck with when they did this north korean policy review. >> right. >> and basically, they've assumed that unless china comes to the table and really puts the squeeze on north korea, this is not going to work, john. >> i did also hear, while you heard that tough language, and frank sesno, you brought this up beforehand, he did seem to offer north korea a path out of this. he specifically said that the goal of the united states, the united nations, should not be regime change in north korea, and then he also specifically said that north korea must reduce the threat of its weapons systems before we even consider talks. to me, actually, that seemed like a somewhat achievable bar from north korea. reduce the threat of your weapons program, not eliminate it altogether, reduce the threat, and we could begin talks here, frank. >> this was a very clear statement from the secretary of state as to exactly what the united states wants and is pressuring. they want tangible indications from the north koreans that they're going to do something,
stop testing, make some commitments. that's also an invitation, an over picture to china to see where they can wing in for some kind of effort. and again, as elise said, we've been through this sort of thing before, although not anywhere near the kind of military threat at the same time, in the dance with iran, the very complicated negotiations with iran. but the simultaneous message -- we're not looking for regime change, we're willing to resume u.s. aid to north korea. people may forget, but there was a time when the united states was actually providing financial and other aid to north korea. there is a brighter future here. this was a sort of classic american expression with more military punch behind it, where military options are on the table, that there is this carrot and stick that i was talking about, and there's a way forward, trying to get the world around it as well. >> michelle kosinski at the state department, this is a major moment for the secretary of state, rex tillerson, again, who seems to be trying to lay out this clear policy. you're seeing these efforts from
him for diplomacy, to make clear not just to china, not just to the united nations, but perhaps to the white house itself about where the efforts should be going forward. >> yeah, i think what i heard from this is more clarity. i mean, tillerson has said himself, he's not a guy that's used to dealing with the press, and i think in the interviews that we heard from him, there was some ambiguity there. like, sitting down with north korea for talks, that started to sound like something different than the prior administration has said in terms of the u.s.'s willingness and under what conditions, but today, sitting before the security council, he made it very, very clear. it's almost as if he wanted to clarify the comments that he made in that interview last night, today saying that north korea needs to take concrete steps, meaning away from denuclearization and towards a commitment to doing that, before the u.s. is ready to sit down
with them to talks. also, you hear him wanting to balance this very much, because one thing that you hear complaints about or confusion about, especially from people around the world, is you know, what is the u.s. policy, not just on north korea, but on a lot of things. when you hear from some people tough talk sounding like almost a focus on the military option, constant mention of that, and then in statements that come out of the state department about north korea, it seems to be very much focused on diplomacy. so, here, he wanted to strike that balance. he did mention the nuclear option, but he said you know, that north korea's actions and the u.s.'s commitment to holding it accountable would be backed up by a willingness to use military options, if necessary. he wants to put it out there, but he also wants to couch that. >> you know, chris cillizza, michelle brings up a good point here, the language, the type of language used by the secretary of state is what the united nations is used to.
that was diplomatic talk. that was something that they can relate to. what they're hearing from the white house and president trump is very, very different than what they're used to. >> yeah, john. what i was going to say is what i was most struck by is the difference in tone from donald trump in the reuters interview to rex tillerson in front of the united nations security council, two very different. one, the traditional tones of diplomacy, the other, not even close, really, to the traditional tones of the white house or the presidency. the traditional tones, i guess, of donald trump sort of openly engaging in hype threatcals about what might happen in north korea militarily. again, the thing that is difficult is who is guiding the policy? is it the secretary of state? is it the president? is it somewhere in between? the other thing that i was struck by just from a visuals perspective, rex tillerson and nikki haley, who have been publicly on the different sides of things, like syria -- what should we do, what our goals are -- nikki haley sitting right
behind rex tillerson in full support. >> right. which, of course, is traditional when the secretary does go to the united nations, the ambassador sits behind, but this is in the wake of a "new york times" report that the state department wants the ambassador to the u.n. to clear her statements before saying that. we'll leave that aside. kimberly dozier, i'll give you the difficult task of putting yourself in the mind of kim jong-un right now, the north korean leader. how does he view, do you think, what was just said today? >> well, last night he heard the left and rights of what this administration might be able to offer him, either war or president trump with his somewhat sympathetic portrayal of a young leader taking on a tough job. he was signaling, we can treat you with respect, if you behave in a responsible fashion. then tillerson has followed up with the details, signaling not just north korea, that we can offer you the carrot of aid, rather than the stick of military force, if you just show us some good-faith efforts towards denuclearizing. but there was also a message
there, a very specific message to banks that are doing business with north korea that we will come after you, even if it means third-party sanctions. >> third-party sanctions now very much on the table as of this morning. thank you, one and all. again, the u.s. secretary of state at the united nations right now telling the world, the failure to act now on north korea will have consequences, not just for north korea, but again, also for perhaps businesses and other states that don't stand up and take action right now. a lot going on this morning. we'll be right back. i love to eat. i love hanging out with my friends. i have a great fit with my dentures. i love kiwis. i've always had that issue with the seeds getting under my denture. super poligrip free. it creates a seal of the dentures in my mouth. even well fitting dentures let in food particles just a few dabs of super poligrip free is clinically
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fmy doctor recommended ibgard. abdominal pain and bloating. now i'm in control of my ibs. nonprescription ibgard-calms the angry gut. all right, this morning, republican house leadership has delayed a vote on a bill to repeal and replace obamacare, delayed again. will there be a new vote soon? that is the key question. are there enough votes there? that another key question. joining me now, republican congressman scott perry of pennsylvania. he is a member of the freedom caucus, also sits on the foreign affairs committee, which is pertinent for us this morning. congressman, thank you so much for being with us.
>> thanks for the opportunity. >> let me ask you first your reaction to the delay of this vote on the effort to repeal and replace obamacare. >> to tell you the truth, i really don't see it as a delay. i'm not sure where that came from. i think we're working towards it, but there are really discussions about when we should have the vote, even so, because we want to make sure that not only members of congress have had enough time to consider the policy, but the american people have as well. and while we think we might be getting closer to something, there also needs to be a time for everybody to take a look, take a read and formulate their opinion. and so, i don't know that there was ever a deadline set where we're saying we're delaying the vote. we're working towards it and we have been since we started this thing or since we kind of fell off the tracks a little bit a month ago or so. >> fair point. it doesn't seem that the votes are lined up just yet. you have a number of more moderate republicans, including people from your own state, charlie dent down the road from you, who are opposed to the current bill because they are concerned about what it means for folks with pre-existing
conditions. >> some of those same folks -- >> go ahead. >> some of those same folks have been opposed all along. this amendment, so to speak, has really made no difference in that regard. so i think it's fair to point that out as well. >> sure, but it hasn't made it any better. it hasn't brought them on board. >> right, right. >> so, if you don't have enough votes to begin with, you've got to do addition, not subtraction. >> you're absolutely right, but so far -- like i said, they weren't a yes before. it has brought people on board. maybe not everybody and maybe not certain people, but it has brought people on board. the question is -- >> it has. >> -- have enough people come on board? what will it take to get them on board? and maybe it's just a circumstance of informing themselves. this legislative really didn't come out in earnest until i think tuesday or so, so it's now friday. that's three days. health care is really personal and important to every single person, including people in congress, and they want to make sure it's not about getting it done on time, it's about getting it done correctly. >> that's a great point, congressman. our the foreign affairs committee. >> yes, sir. >> and we did just have a big
speech on north korea from secretary of state rex tillerson, basically saying the world needs to get on board, and if we don't take action, the united states, it could have catastrophic consequences. the president also talked extensively about north korea in an interview he did with reuters, and he spoke about kim jong-un, the dictator, in terms that were surprising to some people. "the new york times" called it "grudging praise." listen to what the president said. >> he's 27 years old. his father dies. he took over a regime. so, say what you want, but that's not easy, especially at that age. >> what do you make of that observation? and would you ever speak about the north korean dictator in those terms? >> well, i think that the president's trying appeal, not knowing the leader of north korea, but he's trying to appeal to his personal side and the difficulties of running his country. now, we see it as a police state, literally, a prison state, but if you were born there and you grew up there, you might see it very differently. i think the president's trying to show that there's a path forward, that there can be
respect for his circumstance and his position, but also letting the leader know there's a left and right limit. and so, i think in his own way, donald trump is very carefully trying to navigate the minefield of we would like to do something and we would like it to be diplomatic, if possible, but you can't continue, young leader, on the course that you're on, or there are going to be very dire consequences. >> north korea obviously a national security issue. >> right. >> your congressional website says, though, "i sincerely bereave that america's greatest national security threat is our ever-growing national debt." so, congressman, if the president's new tax plan adds to the national debt, is that threatening our national security? >> i think, i would say it does not help from the standpoint we have to be able to afford to defend ourselves and to project power to protect national interests around the globe. and every step that we take away from that is problematic. it's a balancing act, to be sure. we have to make very tough decisions. just because we might be going
further into debt, it might be to embolden -- correction -- that's not the right term -- to enhance our military capabilities, and thus increasing our national security. so, that might be the answer. and if it's short term, if it's short-term debt, at least we can find our way out of it. so look, we're going to be very careful about how we proceed with the tax plan, with national debt. it remains a concern, as it should be for every single person, whether it has to do with defense spending, domestic spending or otherwise. we have very difficult choices in a dangerous world, and that's what we're talking about holistically. >> the plan as it stands right now from the white house would eliminate deductions for state and local income taxes. pennsylvania, your state has a state income tax. >> yes. >> anywhere from 3% to 4%. if you take away that deduction, would that be a tax increase on your constituents, congressman? >> well, i think many people would view it as that. what we'll have to decide is are the reductions in the rates enough to make up for individual deductions for different things,
whether it's charitable contributions or whether it's your state and local taxes. and i just threw charitable contributions in there as an example. i think that's one of the things that's kind of off the table, but i think people will have to look at the aggregate to see, is your tax bill more or is it less, and including simplicity. is it simpler? can you just fill out a form, as opposed to the trouble of keeping all kinds of documentation and then going to your accountant? if there's a value in that, you have to consider those things as well. so, we're just going to ask all constituents to be mindful of that, to consider those things, and also to understand this is just the president's offer, so to speak. this is where he'd like to go. the congress is going to have a lot to say about this, and we really haven't gotten into this in earnest right now. so, once we do, i think the plan will look very different than it does right now, just as the president's first offer. >> all right, congressman scott perry. really interesting discussion. i really appreciate your time, sir. >> thank you, sir. thanks for being here. >> all right, this morning we have a pretty candid admission from president trump. listen to this. >> this is more work than in my
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live pictures from the capitol, the floor of the house of representatives. they are voting right now to keep the u.s. government open for another, what, five, six, seven days? until the middle of next week or so, so they can vote to keep it open for another six months. your government at work, folks. but no, this is to ensure there is not a shutdown at midnight tonight. by all indications, this will pass, and they will launch a
bigger deal for several months next week. we will keep our eyes on that to make sure as the morning continues. meantime, the president of the united states has done a number of interviews leading into his 100th day in office. that is tomorrow. he said a number of things, including that the job is harder than he thought. one of the people who sat down with him is celina zito, a cnn contributor and "washington examiner" reporter and columnist. and may reston, national cnn reporter. celina, you were with the president yesterday and of course, heard him say that the president say, the job, turns out, is not as easy as he thought it would be. what struck you in your discussion with him? >> well, he also made a similar comment to me during our interview, which went a little over 40 minutes. and you know, there was context associated with that. he talked about the seriousness of the job and how that every decision that he makes, it's not like when he made a deal in
business. it involves great, you know, thought. it involves, sometimes it involves lives and communities. so, that seriousness, that, you know, that heaviness in your decision making is something that he's never had to deal with as a businessman. and so, in that context, he told me, essentially, something very similar. >> we just saw some pictures of you, photos taken from inside the oval office there. always a pretty intimidating place to go in and do an interview, so we appreciate, salena, the fact that you're talking to us about what we went on inside. we talked to other journalists who had similar interviews with him, and the president took out his map from the november election. he's very intent on talking about his electoral victory still, showing reporters, showing everyone the red states, the red areas in this country here. that's something that's very important to him. and you picked up also on his
sort of dedication to his voters. >> yeah, absolutely. well, the map's sort of been my fault, because i was talking to him also about the book that i'm working on as i'm driving across the country. so, we were discussing sort of the regions and the precincts and the congressional districts, you know, that he had visited and ones that he had flipped from obama to his candidacy. you know, he -- for him, it remains incredibly important to stay connected to those voters, and that's why he believes that going to harrisburg on saturday night as opposed to going to the washington correspondents' dinner is much more valuable to him. you know, those are the people that, you know, they broke a, what, 30-year cycle of voting for democrats for president. that area turned out very large for him, and he wants to continue to go back and visit with them, but also, i think he
really enjoys their reaction to him, right? he loves that feeling that he gets when he goes to a rally. >> and may, you were just talking about that. you said that would be a fascinating place to be tomorrow night. >> yeah, absolutely. i think a lot of us would rather be in pennsylvania. the thing that is so interesting about the map and the fact that he's still showing reporters the map at this point, it talked to so many people who had gone in and met with him over the first 100 days who said that that was often the first thing that he would talk about when people would come into the office. you know, with residents of congress, he was always going back to how much he won their districts by during the health care debate. he is still kind of obsessed with his victory. and you know, i think it does sort of point to the fact that there have been very few legislative -- no legislative accomplishments in this administration, and he's very concerned about his image and the legitimacy of his
presidency, and you know, the effect on his gilded brand. and it's just really fascinating. >> so, you are part of this new cnn effort, our first digital political magazine called "state." and you have some great writing in it. and you make some great observations about the atmosphere inside the white house over these first 100 days, an atmosphere you describe as paranoia. >> yeah. i mean, there is, you know, there is a lot of paranoia, but what i think is so interesting, and this goes to salena's point earlier, is that the transition for donald trump has been so hard in part because in the business world, his style of management where he pits people against each other and he invites conflict, et cetera, he brought that to the white house, and that's not necessarily, you know, the easiest way to govern. and i think he's coming to learn that. and so, we talked to a lot of people about that evolution over time for him. but clearly, he is still learning the ropes and just beginning to find his footing a
little bit. >> and salena, you actually had some of those aides walk into the oval office for the end of your interview. >> yeah. it was very interesting. so when i went to walk in, his daughter, ivanka, was walking out. and towards the end of our interview, i turned to her -- i didn't even notice that they had been there for a bit -- i turned around and vice president mike pence was there, reince priebus was there, kellyanne conway was there. and i have to say, despite all of these reports about tensions in that white house, you know, they were laughing and joking. it was surprising to me there was a very positive energy coming out of that room. >> i think there is the positive energy, you know, at times, but it's also fascinating that you have half a dozen aides sitting in on these interviews and coming in. i mean, it's very unusual. he loves an audience, obviously, and he feeds off that, even in the oval office. >> maeve reston, salena, thank
you. you can check out "slate," a new digital magazine from cnn politics. you can find it at cnn.com/state. moments from now, president trump leaving the white house. he's going to atlanta. he is speaking at the nra national convention. we're covering it all live. stay with us. you don't let anything keep you sidelined. that's why you drink ensure. with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. for the strength and energy to get back to doing... ...what you love. ensure. always be you.
-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. breaking news from capitol hill. any minute now, the house is expected to put its stamp of approval on a short-term spending bill to keep the government up and running, but do not, please, pop the champagne corks quite yet. when i say short-term spending bill, we mean short, like really short, like just one week, while lawmakers try to hammer out a longer-term fix. so, a bright spot on the eve of president trump's 100th-day milestone, the government will not be shutting down, we don't think, but he also doesn't have any legislative wins to point to. so let's get to capitol hill and cnn congressional correspondent sunlen serfaty is there. sunlen, no government shutdown, but also no vote on health care. where are things headed right