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tv   CNN Tonight With Don Lemon  CNN  November 28, 2017 11:30pm-12:00am PST

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a missile was launched from north korea. it is a situation that we will handle. >> the best outcome is not to have a war. but we're not going to let this crazy man in north korea have the capability to hit the homeland. if we have to go to war to stop this, we will. >> north korea's latest threat, a new intercontinental ballistic missile, supposedly capable of reaching all of the united states. president trump says the u.s. will handle it. and senator graham says handling it could mean war. hello, everyone. i'm rosemary church. welcome to our viewers in the united states and around the
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world. "cnn newsroom" starts right now. ♪ north korea has tested 23 missiles since february. but the latest launch appears to be a major upgrade, well beyond what they've been able to do so far. it reached a higher altitude than any previous missile, and experts believe it could reach any part of the mainland united states, as pyongyang itself is claiming. as a result, the state of hawaii is starting monthly tests of a nuclear siren system for the first time since the cold war. meanwhile, north korean officials tell cnn they are not interested in deploem si wiiploe u.s., at least not until they have proven their nuclear capabilities. president trump's reaction was fairly muted, saying he would handle it but saying little else. we have reporters covering all
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angles of this story. let's start with cnn correspondent jeff zeleny. >> reporter: the president was in a briefing while the missile was still in the air, flying for some 50 minutes or so. the president meeting later in the roosevelt room here at the white house with republican congressional leaders, had this to say about the latest strike. >> a missile was launched a little while ago from north korea. i will only tell you that we will take care of it. it is a situation that we will handle. >> reporter: saying it's situation we will handle. certainly this is a different time, a different moment. the president just back from traveling in the region a couple of weeks ago here. so clearly trying to put diplomacy on the front lines here, even as this white house is keeping a close eye on north korea. jeff zeleny, cnn, the white house. now we return to the
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pentagon for more reaction. here's cnn's ryan brown. >> reporter: u.s. officials tell me that north korea's latest icbm launch traveled higher than any of its previous tests, going some 4500 kilometers in the air, into outer space. now, defense secretary james mattis, speaking alongside president donald trump, acknowledged this represented a new milestone for north korea. >> it went higher, frankly than any previous shot they've taken. it's a research and development effort on their part, they're building ballistic missiles that can threaten everywhere in the world, basically. >> reporter: a u.s. official tells cnn's barbara starr that the latest missile test by north korea represents a significant improvement over previous icbm launches. u.s. officials will be closely analyzing the latest missile test, mostly to determine whether or not the missile's
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reentry vehicle survived coming back into the earth's atmosphere. that capability pyongyang has yet to demonstrate and is necessary for them to have a working icbm capable of housing a nuclear weapon. ryan browne, cnn, the pentagon. let's go to paula newton now, joining us live from seoul with reanngional reaction. paula, what more are you learning about this latest missile launched by pyongyang, and what might its capabilities be? >> reporter: yeah, as we just heard from ryan, especially here in south korea, they do view this as an escalation. literally, the capabilities of this new missile are quite menacing. as you just heard, it flew higher and was in the air longer. what does this mean? they are very -- they're getting much closer, north korea is, to being able to have that nuclear tipped missile. what was interesting is even before this launch, rosemary, we
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have been speaking to south korean officials yesterday that told us look, they believe that they could complete their nuclear cycle as north korea calls it, by sometime in 2018. that brings up the timetable by at least two or three years from what experts were saying just earlier this year. and what is unclear is how the united states and obviously the asian region is going to confront this kind of nuclear armed north korea. you know, it's palpable here, while people on the streets of seoul and south korea have a certain resignation to this, they are used to it. you know, it's clear that the south korean government is showing more and more unease, especially as you have those from the trump administration being a bit vague as to their next strategy. there are open communications with the allies here in asia. the trump administration is talking to them quite a bit. sit not clear exactly what options are on the table at this point. >> it has many concerned throughout the world. and north korea officials have
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told cnn they're not interested in diplomacy with the u.s. is that just bluster or is there a chance that pyongyang would give diplomacy a chance once it has achieved its full nuclear capability? >> i think that you just hit the nail on the head. that is the strategy here. they want to go to that table as a nuclear armed nation. they feel that will give them so much more leverage in terms of having this peaceful detante. they are so much closer to that goal. again, speaking to south korean officials, you see their attitude change, they were perhaps trying to bring the united states along with them to say this might be the new reality in asia and the korean peninsula, and we may need to face that, because the military options are not good. south korea launched quite a reaction as the missile was still in the air. it's what they call a precision strike. and they simulated as three missiles hit at the exact
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location in waters off the korean coast. the point is saying look, if we want to retaliate, we can. obviously, that kind of escalation, hopefully it will never happen. but south korea is clear. they will continue to defend themselves but they are looking at this point for other options. >> all right. 4:36 in the afternoon in seoul, south korea. many thanks to our paula newton. so let's talk now with our cnn political analyst, a national political correspondent for "time" and david drucker with the washington examiner. thank you for being with us. three big stories on our radar. north korea, the fight over spending, and debate over the tax reform bill. let's start with reaction to the intercontinental ballistic missile launched by north korea tuesday. this is what republican senator lindsey graham had to say about it. >> the president is not going to allow north korea to have a
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nuclear weapon in their hands that can hit america with an icbm, that can make it to the united states. if we have to go to war to stop this, we will. >> is war with north korea inevitable? is that what is happening here? if that is the case, what about the impact on south korea, particularly the capitol of seoul with the lives of tens of millions of people at stake, is there no room for diplomacy anymore? >> i think that senator graham is not saying war is inevitable. he's saying in his view, war might be necessary. and i think he's very much speaking for the president and for the administration there. he spent a lot of time with the president talking about international issues, and many members of the administration, including the president, have drawn the same red line, saying they must not be allowed to have nuclear weapons. the question is, what is going to be done to enforce that, and the administration has sent a lot of mixed signals about diplomacy versus military intervention.
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the president asking for military options and doing a lot of saber rattling, as of course have the north kreeoreans. if there were a war, it would be catastrophic. >> david drucker, where are we with north korea? >> china is never going to be as helpful as the administration would like it to be. i think you've seen president trump trying and utilize diplomacy to defuse this without a military conflict. one of the challenges is from the clinton administration to the bush administration and the obama administration, all three tried different avs to get the kim jong-un and his father's regime to stand down and not be a threatening menace. and none of it worked. you can't criticize any of the president's predecessors for trying different things.
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what we know now is a lot of those diplomatic avs failed. now the president is trying to push china perhaps more than other presidents did. the problem for him and the united states is that china doesn't have an interest in helping the u.s. defuse this. >> and i do want to read out president trump's latest tweet, where he actually links the north korea issue with the fight over spending, and this is what he said. after north korea missile launch, it's more important than ever to fund our government and military. democrats shouldn't hold troop funding hostage for amnesty and illegal immigration. i ran on stopping illegal immigration, and won big. they can't now threaten a shutdown to get their demands. he also said -- had this to say about nancy pelosi and chuck schumer not showing up for tuesday's tax meeting. let's just have a listen. >> chuck schumer and nancy pelosi did not show up for our meeting today.
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i'm not really that surprised. we have a lot of differences. they, before this meeting and before this missile launch, they've been weak on military in terms of spending. they're very hard to get for military. they want it for a lot of other things but the military is secondary to them. the military to me is number one. we wouldn't be here without our powerful military. >> and schumer responded saying if the president will work with both sides, he said we're happy to meet with him any time, anywhere, any place. so molly, why is the president linking the north korean issue with the spending fight? what purpose does that serve? is it helpful? >> it's just a political tactic to blame the democrats for not coming to the table, but sit a very interesting route the president has taken on this particular fight in congress, which could lead to a shutdown of the government. he's shown before earlier this year in one very particular set
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of circumstances that he could get together with the democrats and come up with a deal that could sail through congress, and he did have an opportunity to perhaps do that again here. instead, for whatever reason, he chose to preetchtively attack the democratic leaders on issues that had nothing to do with the budget. >> so where does this leave the whole argument of spending? >> well, there's still a couple of weeks to work this out. i think that democrats are counting on the fact that without any control of government in washington, they don't control either house of congress, they don't control the white house, if there is a shutdown, they're banking on the fact that republicans would be blamed. and that's very possible. the other thing is that while it's very standard, as molly said for presidents to threaten dire consequences in the case of a shutdown, this program will go unfunded and the military will be at risk. the truth is, none of those things are true. some things do go unfunded. the military will continue to
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operate as necessary. democrats know that. they've thrown these accusations at republicans before when the shoe was on the other foot and they knew full well that wasn't the case. i also think, though, the president was sensitive to the idea that the democrats had schooled him on past budget agreements that kurd a couple of times during his first ten months. usually he would meet with democrats and they would threaten not to go along with something, the president would cave. he got a lot of grief for that. people asked what kind of negotiator was he if he constantly caved to the democrats. so he tried to play hardball today and the democrats played right back saying if the president was not going to make a deal, there was no point in showing up. eventually these two sides are going to have to talk. in the u.s. senate, it's going to take 60 votes to move a spending bill, and there are only 52 republicans. >> let's finish on tax reform, because we know the president
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trump will make a critical speech according to the white house on wednesday about the need for tax reform. of course, a lot of people are asking now who benefits, who are the winners with this tax reform bill. molly, what are your thoughts on what the president is likely to say on tax reform and also the outcome of this bill? >> the outcome is very much up in air. there are still not 50 votes in the senate, although the bill did clear an important hurdle when it passed through the budget committee today. i think the bigger problem is, this is starting to resemble the debate over health care earlier this year, where you had a bill that was worked out very much in secret and in haste, and then republicans trying to shove it through both houses of congress as quickly as possible before it grew stale and started to smell. but the bill is not popular. the republicans who are trying to pass it don't love it. but think it's better than doing nothing. the other side, democrats are not prepared, any of them, to
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give any support to this bill. perhaps partly for political reasons. in large part because of what's in the bill. and so as republicans try desperately to round up those last few votes, they're going to have to make more compromises that may dilute the intent of the original bill. they may get it done. the president is certainly engame engaged in this issue of taxes. and congress feels their credibility is at stake in this last chance that they have to put a major legislative achievement on the board in the calendar year. but it is not going to be a pretty process, and if it gets there, it will be limping over the line. >> david, the last word to you on tax reform. >> it's going much smoother for republicans. in talking to republicans over the past few days, they said they feel a lot better about this, that members are trying to
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get this passed. with the health care bill, a lot of people didn't want to vote yes and were very resistant. so the key is whether they can bridge the gap with republicans that are fine with this and others that are concerned about deficits and how the bill would impact the economy. they're going to have to make some tweets in the senate. >> david, molly, thank you both for joining us for this discussion. very interesting indeed. >> thank you. and a short time ago, the pope called for compassion in myanmar without saying the world rohingya. still to come, how there's still a chance the pope could become an advocate for the stateless refugees. we'll be right back. ♪ just look at those two. happy. in love. and saving so much money on their car insurance by switching to geico...
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11:50 pm mail letters, ship packages, all the services of the post office right on your computer. get a 4 week trial, plus $100 in extras including postage and a digital scale. go to and never go to the post office again. welcome back, everyone. pope francis is urging myanmar to have compassion, but he isn't specifically mentioning its
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rohingya crisis or the muslim minority. he avoided any direct reference to the situation during a mass just a few hours ago. the pope also didn't say "rohingya" when he and aung san suu kyi delivered speeches tuesday. he is scheduled to give another speech in the coming hours after meeting with high-ranking buddhist monks. cnn's senior vatican analyst john allen is joining us now to talk more about the pope's visit to myanmar. great to talk with you as always. of course, the pope has skillfully avoided using the word "rohingya" so far, and by doing so, of course, he's avoided embarrassing his host. but he has talked about ensuring respect for the rights of all who call myanmar home. how was that message received, and how can we expect him to deal with this very delicate issue going forward? >> well, rosemary, first of all, good to talk to you. i think the most important point in terms of why he has not used
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the word "rohingya" out loud in myanmar -- of course we don't know what he said behind closed doors -- is because his own local church asked him not to. cardinal charles bowe publicly almost begged the pontiff in the run-up to this trip not to do it because, he warned, that was going to provoke the regime and the consequences might be felt by the country's christian minority. obviously francis doesn't want to make life worse for his own flock. that said, as you pointed out, from the moment he landed in myanmar, he has been delivering a message of greater democracy, greater respect for human rights, and healing of ethnic conflicts. i don't think anyone in myanmar has missed the point, rosemary. so i think the pope so far has fairly artfully threaded the needle. >> yeah. and pope francis, of course, accepted the invitation by de facto leader aung san suu kyi to
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visit myanmar despite the fact that only 1% of the country's population is catholic. so why was it so important to the pope to visit myanmar? >> first of all, pope francis believes very much in reaching out to the peripheries. remember, he is history's first pope from the developing world. i think he sees himself as a tribune for all of these often forgotten and neglected corners of the world. and then tightening the focus a bit, pope francis and the church in general have a great interest in asia. in many part of asia catholicism is growing. then of course francis is a great champion of the underdog. he likes to stand and speak even if sometimes in diplomatically indirect ways on behalf of suffering and persecuted populations. i think all of that was in the mix when he made the decision to accept this invitation. >> and, john, the united states and indeed the united nations have clearly stated that what is currently happening to the rohingya people in myanmar
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amounts to ethnic cleansing. so if the pope fails to mention the rohingya people directly, does that help or hinder their cause and their plight, do you think? >> well, rosemary, i think that's something that can only be judged with time. we have seen some criticism from human rights groups that are interested in myanmar. the task force which is a human rights group based in the states publicly suggested that francis was trading peace for justice, that is, to make nice with the regime to avoid inflaming them. he wasn't pressing hard enough on the question of justice for the rohingya. on the other hand, you know, if we want to take a historical parallel, when john paul 2/went to chile in 1987, he too was criticized for not speaking forcefully enough. he actually granted a photo opp on the balcony of the palace, which is very controversial. but behind the scenes, we now
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know john paul pushed very hard to make it clear that pinochet had to step aside and within a year he was gone. chile is an overwhelmingly catholic country and myanmar is not. my point is we have don't know what's been said behind closed doors. we don't know what cards the pope has put on the table in private. i think it's going to take some time to judge whether this situation has made any concrete difference. >> we don't know that and we don't know what he'll likely say once he gets to bangladesh. >> or for that matter once he gets on the plane outside of myanmar's airspace. the final act in this drama has not yet been written. >> john allen, many thanks. always great to chat with you. appreciate it. still to come, we will return to our breaking news. u.s. secretary of defense james mattis says north korea's latest missile launch shows kim jong-un can hit, in his words, everywhere in the world. president trump says he will handle it, but what does that
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actually mean? then new reports show the trump family claimed to be swedi swedish, but really they're of german descent. so why did mr. trump's father hide their heritage? watch our report on that still to come. plus the u.s. president won't campaign with disgraced senate candidate roy moore, but we've learned former white house adviser steve bannon will. he is sticking with the alabama republican and will campaign with him this week despite sexual assault allegations against him. the latest on that race is ahead when "cnn newsroom" continues. do stay with us. we come into this world needing others. ♪ then we are told it's braver to go it alone. ♪ but there is another way to live. ♪ a way that sees the only path to fulfillment- is through others.
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our viewers here in the united states and all around the world. i'm rosemary church. u.s. president donald trump is facing two big issues at the moment, and he's found a way to weave them both together. north korea celebrated the test launch of a new long-range missile on tuesday. the regime claims it could now hit anywhere on the united states mainland. and on capitol hill, political fights abound. mr. trump got his tax b


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