tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN April 14, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
topping this hour of "360," a question as we head into a weekend of foreign policy challenges. does the trump administration even have a foreign policy? after a week that saw tensions rise with russia over syria, the biggest nonnuclear bomb in the arsenal fall on afghanistan, and a nuclear threat from kim jong-un, it is quite a question to be asking. but there is a case to be made that it's the right one. that's just ahead. first with the president, mar-a-lago, cnn's jim acosta sets the stage. >> reporter: a critical moment may be at hand as u.s. foreign policy experts worry north korea just might celebrate its 105th
anniversary with a dangerous display of military might. a nuclear weapons test ordered by that country's leader kim jong-un designed to provoke president trump. >> we have a new president and kim jong-un is trying to challenge him. is trying to get him back to the negotiating table. >> reporter: u.s. flexed its muscles last week with strikes in syria and earlier this week diverting an aircraft carrier toward north korea as the trump administration dropped a massive nonnuclear bomb on an isis target in afghanistan. add to that the president is ratcheting up the rhetoric on north korea. >> i don't know if it sends a message. it doesn't make any difference fit does or not. north korea's a problem, the problem will be taken care of. >> reporter: a high-ranking north korean official told the associated press the trump administration's posture toward the communist nation is becoming more vicious and aggressive. >> we are also making it worse. with our bluster and by sending aircraft carriers in there, we're raising the crisis. >> reporter: earlier in the week the president held out hope that chinese president xi jinping could help contain north korea.
>> president x ichi wants to do right thing. we had a very good bonding. i think we had a very good chemistry together. i think he wants to help us with north korea. >> reporter: but the president acknowledged to "the wall street journal" he only recently learned that the chinese may only be able to do so much, saying after listening for ten minutes i realized it's not so easy. i felt pretty strongly that they had a prem power over north korea but it's not what you would think." the president will be monitoring the potential crisis at his florida resort mar-a-lago, where he'll spend the holiday weekend without much of his senior staff. vice president pence is headed to the region this weekend. >> but they don't have nukes yet. they will have them unless i get to be president. if i get to the president i promise they won't have them. >> reporter: the president vowed he would keep nuclear weapons out of north korea while offering surprising praise for kim jong-un. >> if you look at north korea, this guy, this -- he's like a maniac, okay?
you've got to give him credit, he wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one -- >> reporter: president trump offering china a big incentive to contain north korea. formally announcing it will not label china a currency well-v l reversal from the president. analysis from senior political analyst david gergen and fareed zakaria. fareed, if you look at the variety of national security threats just in the last seven days, russia, north korea, syria, afghanistan. i've been told frequently that the variety of threats facing the u.s. is something that we haven't seen for decades. are we seeing a demonstration of that right now? >> i think we're definitely seeing a demonstration of the fact that we're living in a very complicated world. and that these challenges don't
have easy answers. i think that's really the most important piece of this. which is you can drop big bombs all you like, you're not going to achieve political stability in syria or afghanistan, in north korea you're not going to be able to just threaten the regime and suddenly find one day they're going to cave. that i hope is the realization. because he came to office claiming that all these problems were easy, that if you just gave the generals more leeway, if you just talk tough, they were all going to fall, he alone would be able to fix it all. well, he's in power now and he will discover none of this is easy. >> david, to fareed's point, in the moves that we've seen by president trump in recent days, cruise missile strike in syria, a very big bomb in afghanistan, even the reversal on russia, really, are you seeing real dramatic change in u.s. policies? or are they really continuation to some degree, big picture, of policies for some time?
>> i think the big picture is that we're seeing reversals in president trump. in terms of what he thought he would be doing as president. he'd be very, you know -- that he would be close to russia and that china would wind up being potentially a long-term enemy. but he's now -- in reversing his positions he's actually coming back to a lot of positions that president obama and his predecessors held. he's much more in conventional places. i think what is surprising, and we have not seen the degree we're now seeing, is the degree to which the military is out in front and not the state department. not the diplomats. >> fareed, i will hear from officials in the administration or in other agencies that they're beginning to see a decision-making process come into play, a lot of credit you'll often hear going to h.r. mcmaster, the national security adviser. from the folks you speak to, also just observing these
decisions in recent days and weeks, do you see the development of a more sort of set process for making big-picture decisions like this? >> i think the beginning is exactly the right way to describe it. and mcmaster is a very seasoned, very smart guy. a very thoughtful. so i'm sure what you're seeing is, in fact, his handiwork. but it really is the beginning. and really we're walking off the -- we're walking back from the cliff. so while it's encouraging, there still is the whiplash of the confusion of where exactly the united states stands on all these issues. and what it says for the future. president trump boldly and proudly says, i'm very flexible. but the flexibility is such that it's not -- he's not unpredictable at this point, he's incoherent, right? one day he says nato is obsolete, the next day it isn't. one day he says china will be labeled a currency manipulator, on his first day in office, then he says it isn't. how many more of these reversals will happen?
>> i've spoken to a number of foreign diplomats who make the point that they don't know what the actual policy is. they don't even know sometimes who to speak with in the trump administration or which public proclamation to believe. from your seat, at least in the last week, and i don't want to exaggerate a short period of time, but as you begin to see some policy moves here, are you beginning to see the outlines, at least, of a trump doctrine, if not a trump doctrine, at least a trump foreign policy? >> if there is an emerging trump doctrine, it's very well hidden. i think fareed is absolutely right that there's a lot of confusion still. we don't know quite what directions they're really taking. we don't know how anchored these things are. i want to go to one other point about the decision-making process. i do think fareed is right. we're seeing the beginnings of a decision-making process. but what is notably different from other administrations is the predominance of military voices in that process. and the absence of a strong
voice from the civilian side, especially from the state department. at this point in time, if you have a possible -- a real serious crisis brewing with north korea, the secretary of state would be out in front. he would be calling people, he'd be trying to rally other nations to make sure that there's an international agreement upon next steps to try to get negotiations of some sort launched before there's any military action. i think right now, in the absence of clear doctrine and with an administration that is showing it wants to send a message, there's a new sheriff in town, we don't know whether we're making maximum effort to settle this peacefully or not. >> fareed zakaria, david gergen, thanks very much. >> pleasure. >> thank you. just ahead, new development in the trump russia investigation and the web of connections alleged and proven between trump associates and moscow. later, with president
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see you around, giulia ♪ new developments in the russia investigation got somewhat buried in the many other headlines this week. we learned that foreign intelligence agencies also picked up evidence of communications between trump associates and russian officials and other russians known to western intelligence. also contradictory statements from former trump campaign adviser carter page about his
contacts with russia. he has denied that he was a foreign agent. page told cnn's jake tapper that when he visited russia last july, he never discussed easing sanctions on russia relating to the seizing of crimea, but interviewed on abc news, page could not provide a clear answer. >> i never offered that, no, nothing along those lines, absolutely not. i mean, it may -- topics -- i don't remember. we'll see what comes out in this fisa transcript. something may have come up in a conversation. i have no recollection and there is nothing specifically that i would have done that would have given people that impression. >> now page denies any wrongdoing, in any case he was hardly the only development. and he was hardly the only one with russia connections. >> there is an expanding web of contacts between trump advisers and russia during the election and the transition. one of the latest revelations, a
meeting in january on the island nation of the seychelles, hundreds of miles off the east coast of africa. a diplomatic source tells cnn a little more than a week before president trump took office, blackwater founder and trump donor erin prince met with a russian businessman close to president vladimir putin to arrange a possible backchannel of communications between moscow and the incoming administration. >> there was no reason to find some russian businessperson or some contact with the russian government when you could easily have asked the state department or the obama administration to help create contacts. >> reporter: prince claimed to have influence with then president-elect trump, though both the white house and the foreign diplomat tell cnn the administration was not involved in arranging the meeting. still, gop lawmakers acknowledge growing questions. >> this is a centipede. a shoe will drop every few days. the latest, seychelles. this is a requirement in my view why we need a select committee
in order to get through all this, because there's lots more shoes that are going to drop. >> reporter: the connections, however, do not end there. former white house national security adviser michael flynn, a key adviser during the trump campaign, sat next to russian president vladimir putin in 2015 at a black tie gala for russia's rt propaganda network. we now know the kremlin paid flynn more than $33,000 to attend. income he did not initially report, as required, to the u.s. army or to the white house. flynn was fired less than a month into the administration for lying to the vice president about discussing sanctions with russia's ambassador, sergei kislyak. >> when i looked at the information, i said, i don't think he did anything wrong. if anything he did something right. the thing is he didn't tell our vice president properly, and then he said he didn't remember, so either way it wasn't very satisfactory to me. >> reporter: the connections to russia extend inside the trump
family. president trump's son-in-law and close adviser jared kushner met with russia's ambassador and with sergei gorkov, president of the russian bank that's under sanction pts jared did a job in the transition in the campaign, where he was a conduit to leaders. and that's until we had a state department and a functioning place for people to go. he wants to make sure he's very clear about the role he played and who he talked to and that's it. >> reporter: and the ties extend as well to the very highest levels of the trump campaign. former trump campaign manager paul manafort worked for years in ukraine for pro-russian politician viktor yanukovych. manafort also partnered with the russian oligarch on business deals. according to the associated press he worked for another russian oligarch to benefit the putin government. manafort denies his work was representing russian interests.
>> as far as the yanukovych administration is concerned, you will see if you do any fact checking that i was the person that negotiated the framework which is based upon which ukraine is now part of europe. that was my role. that's what i did. and when it was completed, i left. >> reporter: and now trump's own attorney general, jeff sessions, has had to recuse himself from russia investigations because he also met with russian's ambassadors twice, despite testimony he never had contact with the rugs during the campaign. >> retrospect, i should have slowed down and said i did meet one russian official a couple of times, that would be the ambassador. >> reporter: long-time trump associate roger stone who communicated with someone nun as gusi fer 2.0 through private messages on twitter. the u.s. intelligence committee says the gussi fer 2.0 persona is a front for russian intelligence and claimed responsibility for hacking the
dnc before the election. it is russia's election-related hacking at the center of fbi and house and senate intelligence committee investigations that continue. perspective from a pair of intelligence professionals, former fbi and cia senior official phil mudd and steve hall, he ran russia operations at the cia as a member of the agency's senior intelligence service. steve irk want to start with you. as you look -- i'm curious when you think russia was up to here. separate from trying to interfere in the election. do you see evidence they were trying to recruit people who may end up inside the u.s. government? >> certainly, jim what we've seen with guys like carter page and arguably others are what we typically associate with russian trade craft when they are trying to identify people who might be close to incoming presidents and other people of power in the u.s. government. so this is simply standard operating procedure on the part
of the russian government. you want to try to have people on the inside who are at the very least willing to talk to you off the record. maybe they're willing to agree to even more than that. in the best of all circumstances for russia, you could have somebody who would be an agent of influence who could actually maybe even influence somebody who was in positions of power in washington. so that would be very typical for what the russians would want to do. i think the surprising thing in this particular circumstance is the breadth as you were just outlining in your report in there of how many different data points that we have from the trump campaign that sort of lead back to russia. we just need to find out whether or not there's really anything there, whether this is all some big, convoluted, just something that happens somehow. it will be interesting to see. . we've got to get to the bottom of it one way or the other. >> phil, as you look at it now, we're at a stage in the investigation, at least with what's public knowledge at this point, as steve said you've got smoke but no fire. you have decks, communications,
but no proof that for instance there was a quid pro quo discussed in those conversations. as you look at it it, someone who's been analyzing intelligence for a long time, what do you see here? >> i see a couple things. first, let's go back a bit. remember, the director of the the fbi was embarrassed last fall and summer when he talked about an open investigation against hillary clinton. he then talked about closing the investigation, reopening -- a total embarrassment for an fbi that never, almost never, discusses an open investigation. what does he do in this case? later, after that embarrassment, he again talks about an open investigation, in this case potentially related to russian collusion with americans. i cannot imagine the fbi director after the clinton embarrassment talking about this case without looking at information months ago saying, i'm going to get out in front because this one is going down with indictments. there's one other thing to watch about smoke in this case. it's something nobody's talking about. there's a collusion piece, there's also what we call in the business a thousand one, lying
to a federal officer. i can't figure out what carter page is talking. because if he's saying something different, the fbi is finding out in interviews, that guy's got a problem. >> steve hall, one issue that's come up in a number of democratic members of the house sent a letter to the white house with a concern that jared kushner, very close adviser to the president, also happens to be his son-in-law, did not reveal on his security clearance form meetings as you're required to do, in this case with russians. how much of a concern is that for you? how much does it expose him to legal repercussions? >> it's certainly a concern. i can tell you that anybody who has had -- both phil and i have had security clearances. anybody who's had a security clearance knows you just don't leave that kind of thing off of the paperwork. there's language up front that says, if you're signing this, first of all, it's complete, it's all the information, it's all true, and it's a felony if you lie about that. so that's serious.
and it's of concern to me because it's yet again another thing they've sort of -- again, trails back to russia. if it had been any one of these things, if it was just the manafort question or if it was just kushner's omission on this, then you say, okay, maybe that's just one-off. the problem is that this is beginning to be a little more than just coincidence. from a counter intelligence perspecti perspective, i think there's grave concern here. that's one of many worrisome pieces. >> that, phil, is the focus of the fbi's investigation at this point, a counterintelligence investigation. going forward. >> that's right. but again, it's not just the counterintelligence investigation. when you sit at the table for these investigations, and i have, there's a question about whether the people who are involved are truthful. even if you can't prove whether the individual colluded with the russian government, if you can prove they lied, that's a federal violation. they'll charge him. >> absolutely. a lot of other investigations,
completely different topics, that's gotten people in trouble in the end. phil mudd, steve hall, thanks very much for joining us and explaining it all. we're almost at day 100 of the trump presidency. how's he doing so far? a report card from two people who have the white house on their resume when "360" continues. voluminous original mascara the original soft-bristle brush separates every lash. the creamy formula builds 5 times the volume. voluminous. let your lashes speak volumes. from l'oréal paris. ...where each drop was formulated to be smarter.... ...even smarter than that... ...so if a color didn't go on evenly, it would balance itself out to reveal its truest, richest state. if a paint could realize the fullest potential of any color... ...you have to wonder... is it still paint? aura interior from benjamin moo®e . only available at independently owned paint and hardware stores.
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president trump is now approaching a major milestone. his first 100 days in office will end on april 29th. this week alone has been very busy. there's the nuclear threat from north korea. cold war words from russia. possible escalation in syria. the dropping of that massive bomb on afghanistan. but to some it's been a largely winless 100 days. white house press secretary sean spicer, of course, disagrees. >> we have done so many great things. including nominate and confirm a supreme court justice. roll back more regulations than any president in modern times. roll back the obama-era war on coal, oil and natural gas. restore confidence in the economy. we're now seeing historic levels of consumer ceo home builder
manufacture confidence. 12% gain in the stock market. we've even seen a real resurgence in the mining industry. we've reduced illegal border crossings by over 60% to the lowest level in nearly two decades and implemented historic ethics reforms including a five-year lobbying ban and a lifetime foreign ban. >> two gentlemen who know a thing or two about the first 100 days of a presidency. robert reich searched as president clinton's labor secretary, now a professor at uc berkeley, author of "saving capitalism for the many, not the few." also tonight cnn political commentator jeffrey lord who worked in the reagan white house. thanks for taking time tonight. secretary, if i could ask you to put on a different hat tonight. if you were working in this white house, imagine that, and compiling a list of the accomplishments for president trump in his first 85 days or so, what would you highlight at this point?
robert, are you hearing me okay? >> yes, i'm trying to figure out what i'd highlight. really, i think this is -- honestly, this is the worst 100 days of a president, certainly beginning, i've ever seen. the whole point of the 100-day metaphor comes out of franklin d. roosevelt. it really is a metaphor about the fact that when a president begins, he has more credibility and more public support than he's ever going to have again. and also, when he has both houses of congress that is his party, i mean, you've got everything going for you. and i'm sorry, because i think that what donald trump has done is essentially squander these first 85 to 100 days. not only has he lost on every major battle, repealing obamacare, he can't even afford the wall, and his muslim ban is
held up in court. he's just filled the airwaves with lies. lies about fraudulent votes, 3 million to 5 million, completely unsubstantia unsubstantiated. lies about obama spying on him. ethics violations. this russian connection where -- >> okay. >> i mean, the problem is you asked the question that is almost -- i mean, what would i say? he got somebody through to the smoefrt. well, okay. good. >> lifetime appointment of a 49-year-old justice. jeffrey lord, you served in the reagan white house. his first 100 days were legendary for accomplishments. try to give an honest opinion of not just the gains but the disappointments of the first 85 or so days of the trump administration. >> well, let me just run through a few of the successes. the gorsuch appointment is huge. i mean, i used to hear from people at rallies about how they wanted a supreme court justice, a conservative supreme court justice. he'll there be for a generation. that is a very, very big accomplishment. he withdrew from the tpp.
the transpacific partnership. he got the -- green lighted the keystone xl dakota access pipelines. he streamlined the budget and is going to have a reagan-style increase. the enforcement of immigration laws. the illegal crossings have been reduced by 40%. the stock market is up. on the other hand, let me just say this -- >> to be fair, a lot of the those things -- >> we need to focus on some of the negative things that have happened to presidents. president kennedy had the bay of pigs. president lincoln had states withdraw from the union. there have been pretty good presidents who had some really bad things happen in their first 100 days. that is not what's going on here with donald trump. >> to be fair -- >> these are really self-inflicted wounds, jeffrey. and that really -- i don't think there's any doubt about it. why did he spend so much time lying with baseless lies and why didn't he call for -- i mean, if
he's involved, and all of his aides seem to be somehow involved in this russian connection, why didn't he call for a commission, a bipartisan commission, to get to the bottom of it? if he really cared about clearing the air that's what he could have done. instead it's all trying to deflect attention from it, trying to wiggle out of it, creating more of a cover-up. you know cover-ups just create more stories. >> let me ask you thisfy can -- i want to get back to the agenda, to the legislative agenda if i can. i want to ask this question to both of you. a lot of the stuff he's done so far, he didn't require congress really, a lot of these are executive orders, et cetera. we've talked a lot in this program tonight about how donald trump has moved towards the center in some of his foreign policy positions and elsewhere, even domestic positions. do you see him, the potential of him, doing that on tax reform, infrastructure plan? he even -- obamacare reform --
to bring in votes not only from other wings of his own party but perhaps democrats. do you see that coming? jeffrey, and robert i want to give you a chance after. >> i see him getting things done. this is the man, "the art of the deal," the other book, "never give up." he's going to be relentless just as he was in his business career. i see him doing that over and over and over again and he will keep coming back until he gets what he wants. like ronald reagan saying he'd settle for 80% and come back for the other 20% later. that is very much what donald trump is doing here. >> robert -- >> ronald reagan's great gift -- look, if donald trump actually improves the well-being of the bottom 60% of americans, that's wonderful. i'm 100% behind him. but he's so unfocused. he's so undisciplined. all he cares about is what, winning? getting even? and i don't know. this is a man who seems to move from position to position
effortlessly. there's kind of a vacuum at the center. except for narcissism. there is no -- ronald reagan was focused. ronald reagan knew what he wanted to do, he wanted to take on the economy, he wanted to cut taxes, he laid the predicate for all of that in the first 100 days. he was amazingly disciplined. this president is the most undisciplined and kind of egoistic president i've ever imagined in the white house. >> we're going to have to leave it there. robert reich, jeffrey lord, we appreciate your specious as we look at this. coming up, more on ronald reagan. we'll have a closer look at his first 100 days, compare them to trump's perhaps. they were eventful right from day one, in fact, as you'll see. ? yeah. uh, hello!? a meeting? it's a big one. too bad. we are double booked: diarrhea and abdominal pain. why don't you start without me? oh. yeah. if you're living with frequent, unpredictable diarrhea and abdominal pain,
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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 later this month, donald trump will hit a presidential mile stone. the end of his first 100 days in office. one of the most eventful first 100 days in the modern era belongs to ronald reagan. whose presidency included a major development not just in the first days but in the very first hours.
♪ ♪ ♪ >> i, ronald reagan, do solemnly swear -- >> the first inauguration was planned on the west side of capitol hill. all the rest had been on the east side. reagan was a man from the west, from california. and he thought that the west held a lot of the magic of the american story. >> -- preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of the united states -- >> so help you god? >> so help me, god. >> congratulations, sir. >> what's interesting about
ronald reagan's inauguration is that he really had a mandate. people were calling it the reagan revolution. i mean, he had painted the entire country a republican red. >> in this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem. >> he was stating a very clear and different philosophy from the reigning philosophy. yet couching it in a way that made the people listening feel like he still had belief in the people of america that even though liberals were upset by what he said, he reached out to the middle class. he reached out to people who wanted to believe in that sunny morning in america kind of spirit. >> and we mapped out his plan for the first 100 days, and he blessed it during the transition. so he came shooting out of the box pretty fast. everybody knew that he stood for cutting taxes, cutting spending, cutting regulation, balancing
the budget. what he didn't have was the full confidence of the people that he could get it done and he was going to be a strong president. >> we will again be the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do not now have freedom. >> what reagan was trying to portray was the sense that america was going to take a more active role in the cold war struggle. there had been a sense during the carter administration that america had fallen behind and our power had not been exercised and especially because of the hostage crisis. and it looked like america was somewhat of a paralyzed giant abroad. >> the iranian hostages were held for about 444 days. >> at the exact time of reagan's inauguration, these hostages were released. what a gift to ronald reagan. he is able to have a major foreign policy accomplishment on hour one. not even day one of his administration. >> the 52 american hostages are
freed according to this flash. >> i remember it was a very cloudy day at first and the sun broke through at the very moment we learned about the hostages. >> there was a lot of fear on the eve of reagan's inaugural that reagan might go to war in the middle east over this. patience had run out, the hourglass was empty. >> there was a little ditty that went through the transition team. what is red, flat, and glow in the dark? the answer, tehran after reagan becomes president. and that was a signal that had been sent during the transition. we want those people back, and we're willing to take action if you don't do it. and they did, they freed them. >> nobody still knows definitively why that exact moment the hostages got released. but it was carter's people that were negotiating the last minute, all that december after he lost, carter was working the circuit all day long to try to
get them out. >> it can't be an accident that the iranian hostage crisis ended with the release of the hostages at the moment reagan became president. clearly the iranians knew what was going on in the united states. >> whatever happened, the fact that it occurred and he was the president, he gets the benefit of that, seemed to symbolize, here's this new president, this hostage crisis is over. the paralysis of america will be undone. a new america is being born. it was an extraordinary way to begin his presidency and it started it off on a very high note for him. >> god bless you and thank you. thank you very much. >> moments ago there were shots fired just as president reagan emerged from the washington hilton hotel after delivering a speech. >> i look back at the president, look back at the crowd. and at that point john hinckley pushed himself forward and fired
six rounds in about 1.4 seconds. >> shots fired. shots fired. >> bullet came within an inch of his heart. was he going to survive? >> people remembered john f. kennedy's death. >> there was this terrible sense of, i've been through this before. >> there was great fear that ronald reagan had passed. >> just riveting stuff. coming up in part two, the nightmare scenario, an assassination attempt. that's right after this. what if there was a paint... ...that had the power to awaken something old... ...or painfully dated... ...or something you simply thought was lost forever... ...because it could form a strong bond, regardless of age... if a paint could give any time-worn surface stunning new life... ...you have to wonder... is it still paint? regal select exterior from benjamin moore®.
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♪ you're looking at president reagan's first 1100 days. right now the assassination attempt. >> thank you very much. >> we were going to the washington hilton hotel where the president was going to give a speech. there was no unusual intelligence in regards to the president's security at that time. >> march 30th was the turning point in the life of ronald reagan, especially in the presidency of ronald reagan. >> i was part of the
presidential detail protecting president reagan. when he was at the washington hilton hotel, we were talking back to the armored car. i looked back at the president, looked back at the crowd, and at that point, john hinckley pushed himself forward and fired six rounds in about 1.4 seconds. [ gunfire ] >> the fifth round ricocheted off the car and hit the president under the left armpit. four people were shot in the assassination attempt. jim brady was shot literally between the eyes. a district of columbia policeman was hit in the back of the neck. i attempted to cover the president by making my body as large as i possibly could. i was shot in my right chest, but i clutched my abdomen because that's where the pain was. >> a secret service guy threw
him in the back of the car and jumped on top of him and reagan was in bad pain. hi thought reagan had not been shot but he had cracked a rib. >> moments later, they saw frothy blood coming out of the president's mouth and redirected the motorcade to the hospital. >> many people thought reagan was going to die. >> there was this terrible sense of, i've been through this bmpl. i was in college when jfk was assassinated. the idea in this country it was happening yet again. >> we got to the hospital, he believed so much in the dignity of the office. he got out of the car and the first thing he did was buttoned his coat and walked across the driveway. when he was out of sight of the cameras, he collapsed. >> there was that sense of, oh, my god. the country is in peril. what's going on? who's our leader? >> the best place to be was down
in the situation room. information came in from the defense department. the vice president, george h.w. bush, was on a flight to texas and we asked him to turn his plane around and come back. >> there was chaos throughout the administration and the land. was he going to survive? >> secretary of state al hague, the defense secretary began arguing what defcon we should be on. al hague felt strongly we should not raise the defcon because he thought it would send a signal to the world that we were in crisis mode. >> i had a team of reporters working for me on john hinckley. we investigated everything in his life, his obsessive connection to the actress jodie foster. >> he had a real obsession with her. it was unclear in those early
days why he shot reagan. he had no particular an mouimus just wanted to shoot somebody important in washington. he was mentally unbalanced. >> it was clearly established he acted alone. >> the president was shot once in the left side. his condition is stable. the decision is now being made whether or not to operate to remove the bullet. >> we weren't really sure he was going to make it until late that night. >> the president came very close to death because they couldn't find the bullet. it flattened out in the shape of a dime and was in between his ribs and he was bleeding to death internally. they could and found the round and the damage. >> first of all, was he going to live? and once he knew he was going to live, what impact is this going to have on him? this is a man that suffered a
grievous wound. so we were concerned could he govern? >> president reagan is at the white house tonight, after spending 12 days in the hospital recuperating from a bullet wound. >> i got the chance to be the editor of ronald reagan's diaries. one of the first entries he wrote after that assassination attempt, "whatever happens now, i owe my life to god and will try to serve him in every way i can." he realized he was living on borrowed time. >> it was best to keep him out of sight. he was a much weakened man. when he got out, he started the athletic program, he put basically a gym on the third floor of the white house where he could work out. he put an inch and three quarters on his chest through workouts after he was shot. >> there was still a question, was he a vigorous leader, or was he so wounded he was going to be incapacitated? this was a concern. the whole world was watching.
>> to have been no return of ronald reagan to full power, so the issue was how should he return? the idea came this was an opportunity to reignite his presidency and get his economic plan throw the congreugh the co. so he planned it out that the first time people would see him is in a joint session of congress. >> mr. speaker, the president of the united states. [ applause ] >> he goes to a joint session of congress. huge standing ovation for minutes and minutes. and then presents his plan again for what he wants the congress to do. >> i have come to speak to you tonight about our economic recovery program, and why i believe it's essential that congress approve this package. >> and at that point, the relationship between reagan and the country has already been
bonded, and the democrats then, they have no choice and the bill passes. >> he soared up in approval ratings. somebody was at best, half the country didn't like him in some ways. suddenly you had a 75% approval rating throughout the nation. the very fact that he survived, he becomes something larger than a president. he became a folk hero. so he ends his 100 days oddly kind of on top of the political world. >> after that, he was back. he was really back. >> it was not about politics or even about reagan. it was about the presidency survives. >> just an incredible story. we'll be right back.
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that does it for this edition of" 360." "unseen enemy" begins now. as we go on the air tonight, the question is, is north korea on the verge of conducting its sixth nuclear weapons test with the aim of provoking president trump? this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. it's already saturday in that isolated country, which is celebrating the birthday of its