tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN April 11, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT
assad. with us today right now to discuss all of this, senior white house correspondent jeff zeleny and others. let me start with jeff. jeff, the white house this afternoon trying to link russia to last week's chemical attack in syria. how strong is that link? what are they saying? >> well, jake, the white house is saying that they believe that russia was at least complicit in covering up chemical weapons that existed in syria. they stopped just short that russia knew about this advance, that they knew about this attack that was going happen a week ago today, but they do say that russia is complicit in covering up for the regime of bashar al assad, so, you know, those are very harsh words there, but we also heard from the defense secretary, jake, right there, in his first on-camera briefing since the strikes last week that syria planned, it orchestrated it and expected it, but he said we do not know beyond that if russia knew about this in advance here.
jake, that's sort of the central question underlying this. we have to take a step back here, jake. this is a monumentous shift in this trump administration posture towards vladimir putin. throughout the campaign, throughout his first, you know, almost three months in office, the president has stood virtually alone in this town in this government for not being critical of vladimir putin. i asked him a question earlier this morning about mr. putin. he did not respond, but, jake, his administration right now is saying that the russian government was complicit in knowing about syria's chemical weapons. certainly that's a departure from where this president has been. jake? >> thanks so much. let's go to barbara starr who was in this briefing. barbara, what struck you as the headline from this briefing. what was the most important thing said by secretary mattis? >> well, jake, one of the most important things is what was not said. you saw him being repeatedly questioned by reporters, and i think just behind me you see
some reporters still gathered, trying to talk to officials about the critical point of chlorine-filled barrel bombs. we saw barrel bombs come up at the white house yesterday. the question for secretary mattis was has the u.s. put chlorine-filled barrel bombs essentially on the strike list. essentially is the u.s. policy now to try to take military action against assad if he were to use chlorine-filled barrel bombs again. those, of course, are oil drums potentially filled with chlorine tossed out of helicopters killing people on the ground. they interesting. he kind of dodge the the question publicly. i went up to him afterwards and said we're confused. has the trump administration just put barrel bombings on the military action list, and he said he didn't want to answer that question, that he had a reason for not being specific. they don't want to yet be
specific. technically chlorine, not in the same category as the sarin agent that was used in the attack we're talking about, but this potentially opens the door, potentially, to broadening of the campaign. what struck me is secretary mattis made a repeated point of saying that the u.s. had intelligence on this hospital situation where so many people got killed and injured, that they were absolutely certain that the regime planned and executed the attack. that tells you that the u.s. has some pretty specific, very classified intelligence, if they knew, if they were absolutely convinced that assad planned -- his people planned and excused it, they would only know through imagery or intercepts. some of the most classified intelligence. it really tells us behind the scenes that the u.s. intelligence community has a route into what assad is up to. that to me was one of the most
interesting revelations in this 30-minute press conference. they were making the point that they are still very focused on isis, but what is clear is the groundwork is there if the president were to order, if he was to order additional military action. the u.s. military, the pentagon, ready for that prospect. there seems to be no question about it. nobody is saying more military action is coming, but it certainly is something that military planners always prepare for and very clear after this 30-minute press conference something that they are potentially thinking about. jake? >> all right, barbara star for us at the pentagon. thanks so much. let's get reaction to the briefing from general michael hayden and rear admiral general kirby. gentlemen, your thoughts on what you just heard. what was the most newsworthy item you heard from secretary matties? >> it was refreshingly candid, fact-based and very clear, and
what struck me on multiple occasions that secretary mattis and secretary votel each isolate had hadup one is isis. job one is isis. it was singular. it was done. we're done with that. we're back to isis and both men were given multiple opportunities to go ahead and start floating about regime change and the future of assad. they refused to go. job one, defeat of isis. >> and one of the things, john kirby, that is interesting is yesterday sean spicer seemed to draw a new line talking about the use of barrel bombs as something that would prompt a reaction from president trump wlmpt he did that intentionally or accidentally we don't know, but it did bring this whole other element into the occasieq if it's not a chemical weapon used, but it's a barrel bomb, a different lethal weapon but not prohibited by the geneva convention and not on the agreement that syria signed a few years ago in 2013. explain the significance of why
barrel bombings being added to this the and also why you think secretary mattis refrained from being more clear. >> well, i can't explain why he refrained from being more clear, and we long said at the state department that though it's an industrial agent it can be weaponized and it can be considered a chemical weapon. if you drop a barrel bomb with chlorine on people that now becomes a chemical weapon and should be considered that. that was our take on this. i can't explain why he would refrain from that. i agree with the general. one of the big takeaways for me is both individuals really tried to narrowly describe what they did and narrowly describe it in the future tense as well. the second big takeaway for me was the very, very clear threat to assad, that they will do it again, if he actually does employ chemical weapons in the future that. they will do it again, but i think they very, very tried to proscribe and describe what they
did. >> yeah. i think maybe we've got three categories going here, all right, and secretary mattis was very clear. vital american interest here for the air strike was to not let the bar be lowered globally with regard to the use of chemical weapons and it wasn't just about civilian casualties. it the wasn't just about barrel bombs. the vital american interest was that international norm, so, jake, i think you've got three baskets and i think john would agree. you're going to use sarin again. we're coming after you. the conventional use of high-explosive barrel bombs, as sad as that is, probably is not going to dragger the response, and then the secretary left this vagary in the middle. if you use chlorine, which is not illegal to have. >> right. >> it's just illegal to weaponize. >> if you use chlorine, he tried to create some ambiguity there i think. >> and what would be the purpose in that, just so that they are not hemmed in by promises or maybe he doesn't even know the policy because it was set by sean spicer yesterday or what? >> well, i think he probably is leaving himself a little bit of
room. that is a policy decision that has to be made and a discussion that he has to have with the commander in chief and maybe that discussion just hasn't happened yet because what they reacted to was a very clear use of sarin gas. >> right. >> and that would be beyond dispute. the issue of weaponizing chlorine is still something discussed. under the obama administration it was clear to us that was considered and should be considered and is considered by most international communities weaponizing a chemical weapon. >> and what would you recommend were you in the trump cabinet in terms of a chlorine barrel bomb? do you think that should be a different red line? >> look, i think i'm with john. it's clear what this is. frankly though the use of sarin is such an egregious action. it's very clear. you've got in broad international support and frankly no ambiguity with regard they used sarin. we saw what happened because of that. there is some ambiguity on the battlefield about chlorine. allegations in this case going
both ways with a little more legitimacy than the current russian story, that the sarin may or may not have been used by the rebels, so i think you would have to have clear intelligence, know that the syrians had done this and then frankly at the political level, jake, it would have to be significant casualties that would trigger this kind of response for the use of chlorine in the future. >> one last thing, john, having worked with the russians when you were at the state department. do you think that the russians knew about this chemical weapons attack specifically, or do you think it's just more they have a military presence all over the country. they have to know what there are chemical weapons all over there. >> you know, with the caveat that i haven't seen the intelligence, it's strained credulity to think that the russians at this base didn't have any idea that the gas was there and that was going to be weaponized and put on airplanes. i think you have to understand that they did. the question is at the strategic level how much did they know and did that get up to moscow or did putin or his defense ministry even know? we tend to think, and i think
the beggeneral would agree. we tend to think of russia as a monlite, that information goes from up to down and it doesn't. there are disconnects and people at the ministerial level don't always know what's going on on the ground. i think we have to wait to see. i also think that that was the other thing missing from this, and i think hopefully people recognize that. secretary mattis didn't call out the russians. >> yeah. >> he called out assad. more than once he laid it right at assad's feet and didn't specifically talk about russian complicity. i think maybe he's trying to buy a little trade space with him. >> and spicer said there's no consensus in the u.s. intelligence community. >> you saw that reflected two or three times, bait in the water hoping the secretary would come to and two or three times they said syrians did this. this was totally under the command and control of the syrians. i do think there's a very good case to be made now for the russians trying to obfuscate
what actually happened and trying to create their own fake news story. >> right. >> the to make this more palatable to the world. >> the first thing lavrov will say to tillerson is show me the intel. >> show me the intel. i'm sure they would love to see the intelligence. general, rear admiral, thanks for joining us. with the pentagon saying there is, quote, no doubt that assad was behind the chemical weapons attack in syria one week ago. how will congress react? a member of the house foreign intelligence committee will join us next. stay with us. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ sfx: engine revving ♪ (silence) ♪
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y2bg6y y10my yoirks welcome back to "the lead." our politics lead, a rather stunning comment from the white house today as press secretary sean spicer tried to build the case against syrian dictator bashar al assad who stands accused of killing his own people using chemical weapons. spicer said this. >> we didn't use chemical weapons in world war ii. you had a -- someone as despicable as hitler who didn't even sink to using chemical weapons. >> now, it is true that the nazis did not use chemical weapons in combat against say
the british army or the soviet army, though they did happen to hues them to kill soviet prisoners of war, but the comparison spicer was attempting was not about combat weapons against troops, it was about hitler, quote, not sinking to use chemical weapons on innocent civilians and to state the obvious. hitler obviously did sink to using chemical weapons against innocent civilians, including a poison gas. the nazis used it against inn isn't civilians in death camps that placed hitler built, places nic auschwitz and robins brook. what spicer said was false and frankly kind of ignorant. reporters in the briefing did give the press secretary an opportunity to clarify his remark. he took the lifeline and tied it to an anville. >> i think when you come to sarin gas, there was no -- he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that a --
there's clearly -- i understand. thank you. i appreciate that. there was not -- he brought them to the holocaust center, i understand that, but what i'm saying in the way that assad used them, went into towns and dropped them down into the middle of towns. so the use of it, and i appreciate the clarification. that was not the intent. >> spicer referring there to hitler bringing jews and pols and the disabled and gays and others into the, quote, holocaust center which presumably means concentration camp? hitler used chemical weapons to kill his own people, innocent civilians. he didn't drop them in the middle of berlin, no, but he use them to kill german jews so he did use them to kill the people. the u.s. holocaust memorial museum is just a few blocks from the white house. perhaps a visit is the in order. let's bring back jeff zeleny. sean spicer released a statement after this briefing but i feel like he's taking lessons from
united's ceo. what did he have to say? >> reporter: words i misspoke and i'm sorry are not words used often and they are not being used by sean spicer today, but he did 30 minutes or so after that briefing, he put out yet another statement, a third attempt to clean this up, and this is what he said in. no way was i trying to lessen the horrendous nature of the holocaust. i was trying to draw a distinction of a tactic of using airplanes to drop chemical weapons on population centers. any attack on innocent people is represent hence able and inexcusable, spicer goes on to say. jake, important to point out he was initially bringing this up in the first place to say that, you know, russia is being complicit here in the syrian regime, but by mentioning holocaust, particularly during passover, he simply created a fairly off-key response that is still sounding here at the white house, jake. >> jeff zeleny at the white house for us, thank you.
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welcome back to "the lead." more on our politics lead. a lot to discuss including the shocking comment from white house press secretary sean spicer who while trying to make the case in syria said even hitler didn't use chemical weapons on his hone people which is factually inaccurate. joining me now is republican lee zeldin who serves on the intelligence committee and is an iraq war veteran. i want to first put a button on the issue. you first criticized white house when they didn't mention jews on their remembrance of holocaust day. what do you make of spicer's comments today? >> hitler did use chemical weapons on innocent people. millions of innocent people lost their lives as a result of hitler's decisions. as far as comments being made, as far as making a comparison to exactly what tactics and methods and what you define as the battlefield verse off the
battlefield, combat verse non-combat you can make the comparison a little bit differently and it would have been accurate but the way it was presented it was important to clear up that hitler did use chemical weapons and did murder millions of innocent people. >> secretary of defense mattis today said isis is the primary focus of the campaign in syria, not necessarily the removal of assad. do you think that clouds at all the message about regime change and the desire the u.s. government has for him to leave, although not to be forced by the u.s., and if it does deter or undermine the case that they are making about assad needing to leave, do you think that might embolden assad in any way? >> well, as it relates to assad. there should be regime change. have you to make shower that assad isn't replaced with another assad. that isn't something where, you know, you can just hope that assad doesn't wake up tomorrow and everything is going to work
out ideally. so as you develop that plan, you have to ensure that if you're going to pursue a regime change that you're not going to just end up with someone close to assad ending up in charge of the country. as far as isid goes, that should remain our focus and that's somewhere where we have been going after isis for a long time going back to president obama. we currently have special operations troops operating on the ground in syria. president obama was launching military strikes against infrastructure and personnel as it relates to isis towards the end of his term so that's something that's ongoing. isis is -- you know, they have spread all throughout the world, including their people. they are sympathizers carrying out attacks of the united states and that should remain a focus. as far as replacing assad though, you have to make sure when you go there you have a plan to actually follow through and end up with the result you sglant what do you make of
vladimir putin today saying the strikes in syria remind him of the invasion of iraq, not in the sense that this is not going to only be another war in the middle east, but he also suggested that the false intelligence or incorrect evidence on weapons of mass destruction was similar to the claims that the u.s. is making now? >> vladimir putin is wrong on several counts. he is reminding us, again, that he's an adversary of the united states. he is not a friend of this administration. he is not a friend of the united states. he mettles in countries all across the middle east, and it's a false comparison. the invasion of iraq is one that resulted in an occupation of well over 100,000 service members plus and a broad coalition ended up forming over the course of years in iraq really to this present day where there are thousands of u.s. service members currently operating there, so one targeted air strike towards a syrian
infrastructure cannot be compared to a decision to invade -- this isn't an invasion of syria where there's now, you know, tens of thousands or more u.s. and other forces occupying the country. so it's as false comparison and important reminder that vladimir putin is not our friend. he thinks that he's eight feet tall and he would love to put the ussr back together again and he's again meddling aggressively in a way that's contrary to united states interest and that of our other allies in that region around the world. >> all right. congressman lee zeldin, republican of new york. we really appreciate your time. thanks so much. please come back to the show again soon. >> thank, jake. ready to respond with a nuclear strike. that's the fierce warning from north korea to the united states. we're going to go live inside north korea next. stay with us. rate to severe rheumatoid arthritis like me, and you're talking to your rheumatologist about a medication... ...this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain... ...and protect my joints from further damage.
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gum brand. welcome back to "the lead." . i'm jake tapper. the world lead, relations between the russia and united states seem to be deteriorating just as secretary of state rex tillerson arrives for talks in moscow. tillerson is warning moscow to drop its support of syrian dictator bashar al assad while putin is comparing trump's actions in syria last week similar to the iraq war in 2013. michelle kosinski is live with us from moscow. tillerson and putin were once quite on friendly terms and now tillerson is in moscow and it's possible that putin might not even meet with him. >> reporter: yeah. hi, jake, right. it was four years ago rex tillerson was in moscow being awarded the order of friendship by president vladimir putin.
today he arrived as u.s. secretary of state, friendship being the last word you would use to describe these two governments right now, and at this point putin won't even schedule a meeting with him. well, tillerson prepares to confront russia over its role in syria. tonight secretary of state rex tillerson in moscow about to i attempt one of his toughest conversations, to tell the foreign minister, if not vladimir putin himself, who has not scheduled a meeting with him that russia needs to rethink its backing of syrian president bashar al assad and that the u.s. will hold russia accountable for the continuing carnage there. >> it's clear to all of us that the reign of the assad family is coming to an end. we are not presupposing how that occurs, but i think it is clear that we see no further role for the assad regime longer term. >> reporter: but he's up against a russia that has called u.s.
strikes on syria an inadmissible act of aggression intensifying the tension between the two countries. russian president putin today suggesting that the assad regime and russia are being framed for the chemical attack, saying more will follow. >> translator: we have information from various sources that this kind of provocation, i can't call it anything other than a provocation, is being prepared for in other regions of syria, too, including the southern suburbs of damascus where they are preparing to drop similar chemicals and then accuse the syrian government of it. >> compari >> reporter: garg to the iraq war in 2003, claims of weapons of mass destruction proven false. >> translator: the iraq campaign was launched and finished with the destruction of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and nothing less than the emergence of isis oint national stage. >> reporter: he says russia will appeal to the international community for a full investigation of last week's chemical attack. but when secretary tillerson
before landing in moscow met with g7 nations in italy discussed the possibility of sanctioning russia or at the very least allowing there to still be chemical weapons in syria, they were not on board >> translator: we must have a dialogue with russia. we must not push russia into a corner. >> reporter: as far as the rhetoric has now gone between sh and the u.s. >> putin is a war criminal. assaded is a war criminal and when secretary tillerson says he hopes russia will realign itself with earn democracies and break away from syria and iran, with all due respect, i like secretary tillerson. that's pretty nutty. >> reporter: the responsibility now falls on tillerson. the first to sit down face-to-face with his russian counterpart and try to gain some cooperation with the government he once considered a friend. you know, over the last couple of days we've heard strong statements from a number of u.s. officials. we heard from nikki heal he, but as tillerson is getting ready for crucial meeting with the
russian foreign minister tomorrow it seems he doesn't really want to project such a hard line. he said things like he hopes assad isn't part of the political process for a long time. he hopes that russia will change course because what it's doing right now is not in russia's best interest. jake? >> all right. michelle kosinski in moscow fours, thanks so much. to another escalating crisis on the president's resolute desk in the oval office right now. north korea is stepping up its threat against the united states vowing, quote, could the traffic consequences. in response president trump tweets north korea is looking for trouble this. comes days after north korea's biggest holiday which could be celebrated possibly with another nuclear test or another missile launch. let's bring in sen correspondent will ripley live for us in pyongyang, north korea. north korea's harsh rhetoric, hardly anything new, but the latest one streams carry a bit more urgency, no? >> reporter: it does, and what's really different here, i mean, we've heard north korea threaten
nuclear strikes against the united states before, but the way the united states is responding and specifically president trump is certainly unprecedented for the north koreans. they have never dealt with a u.s. president who seems to get riled up with their propaganda and vice versa, and so you can see this wafer words really escalating. we don't have an official comment yet from pyongyang. people are now just waking up. the six-minute long morning wake-up call that blaers on loudspeakers across the city just wrapped up and so we'll have to see what the official response is if it comes out in the coming hours. jake? >> does the north korean government look to president trump's tweets? do they respond to them? >> reporter: they look at everything that president trump and the trump station is doing. they look at his tweets and the fact that he's deploying a carrier strike group that could arrive along the korean peninsula in a matter of days. look at the air strike on syria and view all of it as an administration that is unpredictable but that is much more likely than past
administrations to conduct military action against this country. >> president trump once again pressed china to get involved with the north korean situation in the tweet today, reiterating that the u.s. is willing to handle north korea without china if they don't get involved. any new response from china? >> reporter: not yet. perhaps later in the afternoon when the ministry of foreign affairs in beijing holds their briefing. they might give some sort of a statement, but we've seen, when i was in beijing before coming here to north korea, china hasn't been taking the bait. they haven't been responding to president trump's provocative tweets or allowed it to influence meeting. after president xi jinping and president trump met in person, perhaps china would have been willing as a measure of goodwill to try to make some concessions about dealing with north korea, but this is not an economic issue for china. u.s. trade and the economy totally different from the political, geopolitical reasons why they continue to trade with this government. they don't want to see a destabilized north korean regime
because they don't want to see an entire korean peninsula with a u.s. ally in control. that's not something that china strategically is willing to accept which is why despite nuclear tests and missile launches over the years china has been reluctant to impose too heavy of sanctions on pyongyang. >> all right. will ripley live for us in pyongyang, north korea. thanks so much, sir. president trump is on track to do something in one year that took president obama eight years to accomplish, but if you're paying taxes, you might not be happy about it. that story next. plus, it's turning out to be a costly move. the brutal removal of a passenger from a flight is costing united airlines hundreds of millions of dollars. will a new apology from the ceo make a difference or make it worse? people confuse nice and kind but they're different.
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back now with our conflict of interest watch, and sometimes it almost seems as if president trump is trying to do the exact same things that a few years ago he faulted president obama for doing, whether arguing that president obama has no business intervening in syria after a chemical weapons attack or obama's use of executive orders. the tweets of citizen trump stand as monuments to president trump's self-described flexibility, a flexibility that his critics reads a bit more like hypocrisy. nowhere is this do as i say not as i tweeted philosophy more stark than in how citizen trump loved to criticize president obama for golfing and vacationing. president trump himself loves to visit and relax and golf at his private club in florida, mar-a-lago. in fact cnn's tally shows that president trump has spent six weekends, 21 full or half days at the club racking up a hefty
bill for taxpayers. all this travel puts the 45th president on pace to surface eight years worth of obama spending on travel just in trump's first year. cnn's tom foreman is with me here. tom, these costly transcripts come as the support asking the federal government to help make some tough decisions when it comes to federal spending. >> yeah, that's precisely the prab here, jake. while the president is the asking all sorts of agencies to cut out the waste and to save taxpayer money, he's still living what looks like the jet setting life of a billionaire on the taxpayer's dime. the president keeps taking off, and the bills keep piling off. the latest getaway itinerary -- >> the president plans to spend the easter holiday in florida and will return to the white house on sunday. >> reporter: since assuming office president trump has sent six weekends at his florida resort mar-a-lago, for a super bowl party in early february, a meeting and dinner with the japanese prime minister, a
little golf the weekend after that, a little more golf two weeks later and still a few more holes in mid-march and then his meeting in early april with the chinese president. to be sure, he ordered the strike on syria during that last visit and his staff insists he's always working. >> and i think the president, wherever he goes, he care esthe apparatus of the white house with us. that's just something that happens. >> reporter: but in just 80 days trump's travels have cost taxpayers an estimated $21 million, all while drawing attention to and bofgt the value of his private properties. membership fees at mar-a-lago, for example, have already doubled to $200,000. the secret service insists it can handle the load of protecting all that travel. the head of homeland security notes agents are pulling long shifts. >> we need a larger secret service because we need to get some of these people a little bit of time at home with their
families. >> reporter: law enforcement officials in florida say they, too, are spending tens of thousands a day and working their officers as if a hurricane has hit. >> which is 12-hour shifts and cancelled vacations and we're going to use all our manpower that we have at our fingertips. >> reporter: and in new york where first lady melania trump lives, taxpayers are shelling out up to $146,000 a day to secure trump tower. the white house says as summer comes on the president's trips to florida will decrease, but there are indications that will mean just more visits to another trump resort in virginia. jake? >> good to be the king. tom foremarkings thanks so much. president trump is throwing his weight behind a republican house candidate as voters head to the polls today for a race that few originally thought would be competitive. it's a special election in kansas' southern fourth congressional district, a seat left vacation by former congressman mike pompeo who is
now director of the cia. republican candidate ron estes is competing against democrat jim thompson, a civil rights attorney and army veteran and libertarian chris rocco. president trump recorded this robo call that went out to voters in favor of ron estes. >> ron is a conservative leader who's going to work with me to make mesh great again. we're going do things really great for our country. our country needs big and lunn will be helping us big league. >> the district is solidly red. president trump won it by 27 points last november. citing the united airlines debacle new jersey governor chris christie is now asking the federal government to step in to help passengers. what does he want the federal government to do? stay with us. people confuse nice and kind but they're different... nice tells you what you want to hear. but kind is honest. this bar is made with cranberries and almonds.
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we're back with our money lead. anger towards united airlines is growing after videos of a passenger being violently dragged off a flight sunday went viral. today united airlines lost $250 million in market value, and we're also just learning that new jersey governor chris christie is calling on the trump administration to allow him and his state to suspend the regulation that allows airlines to overbook flights and bump passengers. christie writing to the secretary of transportation, quote, this conduct is abusive and outrageous. the ridiculous statements now in their third version of the ceo of united airlines displays their callousness towards the traveling public with the permission of the federal government. i know the trump administration wants to reform regulations to help the american people. this would be a great place to start. cnn's renee marsh joins me now. the united airlines ceo sent an e-mail calling the passenger disruptive and belligerent and
since then has he sent a new message to employees? >> he has and sent a very public message for all of us to read, and the first thing i thought was third time's a charm. just a short time ago ceo of united, he sent out this third message, and he finally got the tone right, but it took two days, a viral video and, of course, that fierce outrage from pretty much everyone who saw that video before the airline made this direct apology to the passenger who was dragged off of that overbooked united airline flight sunday. he called it truly horrific and pledged a thorough review of how the airlines handles the oversold flights and how it works with law enforcement. he also said this review would be completed by april 30thth. again, he is admitting here that the airline was in the wrong, and i think that's what a lot of people wanted to hear, and he finally said it. >> you know, united didn't plunge on the market on day one. it was day two when investors were like, holy crap, this guy
doesn't know how to deal with this. legally we should point out, legally, united, not including the violent part of this. >> right. >> they are allowed to bump passengers from flights. >> you are. when you buy your flight or your ticket, if you look at the fine print, it does say that it is their discretion to bump you from your flight if the flight is oversold, but before they do that, they have to ask for volunteers. they have to entice the volunteers with compensation. the federal government maxes that out at about $1,350, and so that's the rub here. a lot of people said maybe they could have avoided this entire situation if they increased the amount that they were offering. many people on the flight said they offered $800. the airline saying they offered $1,000. either way, they didn't get to the maximum, but there's one other thing that's been showing up on social media which is if you look at the airline's policy, it specifically says
that they can deny boarding for an individual if the flight is overbooked, but one would argue -- >> yeah. >> this guy was already on the flight. >> he had boarded. >> he had boarded. i spoke with an attorney, an aviation attorney about this, and he said, you know what, i would actually go after that because he was technically on the plane already, and in his view united breached their own contract, but all of this together, jake, i mean, it really is a pr nightmare. i mean, even for someone covering the story. i can't even get united to answer an e-mail or a phone call, and this is day two, so they are not handling it very well at all >> do we know anything about the passenger, how he's doing? >> we do. we know his name is david dow, and he interviewed with a television station in chicago. he says he's not doing very well. he says pretty much he's in pain all over. you saw the images there, so i think being dragged through an aircraft by your arms, you are
going to be in pretty bad shape. >> all right. renee marsh, thank you so much. in the national lead, new questions about the deadly shooting at an elementary school in san bernardino, california. the question, of course, could anything have prevented cedric anderson from obtaining a gun and walking into that elementary school where police say in, front of more than a dozen children in a special needs class, he killed his estranged wife, karen smith, a student and then himself. two students, in fact, were shot. 8-year-old jonathan martinez, you see him there. he died at the hospital. a 9-year-old boy is in stable condition. cnn's paul vercammen joins me now live from north park elementary where yesterday's shooting happened. paul, the shooter has a criminal record. do we know if that factors in any way as to whether or not he should have been able to buy a gun? >> reporter: unclear at this time, jake, but we do know that this is a clear case of a stone cold killer who slipped and slithered through the cracks. let's just look at his arrest record for one.
over the decades, arrested four times, weapons charges, assault and more, but never any convictions. and then the gun itself. federal agents put an urgent trace on this, meaning they could get in 24 hours and they found out that he used a .357 smith & wesson revolver. he fired ten shots. he even reloaded once, and they did trace that gun to michigan, a gale in 1979, but not to alexander, so part of the probe is to figure out how he got ahold of that gun, and as you pointed out whether or not he had had a legal right to own that gun. jake? >> and, of course, school security is a big issue in this country. what about the front desk at the school? did they follow protocol? were they told not to let anderson into the building? >> reporter: they said they followed protocol to a "t."
that they did not know this was a marriage in crisis, that they were unaware that relatives said she had been threatened, worried about his behavior and nothing about the level of gun violence, but the school said they weren't sure of any of this, so when he walked up to that front entrance area, he signed in as the protocol, and they said it's not unusual for a spouse to say they are dropping something off for their spouse at the school. let take a listen. >> the school has external surveillance video, and when we reviewed that video it shows that he tried another door first, and that door was locked, and the only door that he was able to go through is the one door that leads into the office. >> and, again, restating, jake, per protocol, he would be allowed to go into that front office entry because there had been no red flags. the teacher had not told them about the crisis she was having in her less than three-month-old marriage. >> horrible story. paul vercammen, thanks so much. appreciate it. be sure to volume me on facebook
and twitter @jaketapper. tweet the show @theleadcnn and that's it for today. i'm jake tapper and i now turn you over to wolf blitzer. he is in "the situation room." thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news. russian cover-up. the pentagon says there is no court the syrian regime is behind the deadly gas attack on civilians, and the u.s. strike was meant to deter further chemical attacks. u.s. officials can't say if russia was complicit in the gas attack, but they do accuse russia of trying to cover up what happened. showdown with putin. secretary of state rex tillerson arrives in moscow slamming russia's role in syria as russian president vladimir putin doubles down, defending his support for the syrian regime and criticizing the u.s. amid a war of words, will the two men meet? offensive compar