tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN May 1, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
is president trump obsessed with the world's strong men? the president has made a habit of praising the leaders of some of the most oppressive regimes, calling kim jong-un a pretty smart cookie. rod rego dutarte -- we'll talk about that in a moment. is this a deliberate strategy or is the president just not up to speed? president trump has said he wauj -- the president's own tweet could work against him in a court of law. let's get right to cnn's political analyst. and global affairs analyst. good evening to you gentleman.
mark, you first. what you tell us about the call with vladimir putin. >> we know it's the third time he's spoken with putin since he became president. but the first time they spoke since russia was very critical of the strikes in syria. president trump has been very laudatory of president putin in the past. but we have seen harsh words out of vicki hailey. she has been very critical of russia. given what we have seen in north korea and syria, it's really not much of a surprise we would see these two men actually get together and have a discussion. >> kim jong-un what the president has said about him in the past few days. >> he's 27 years old. his father dies. took over a regime. say what you want but that's not easy. especially at that age and i'm not giving him credit or not.
i'm just saying that's a hard thing to do. a lot of people i'm sure tried to take that power away whether it was his uncle or anybody else and obviously he's a pretty smart cookie. >> if it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, i would absolutely -- i would be honored to do it. if it's under, again, under the right circumstances. >> so he's talking about the ruthless dictator. what do you make of his praise for the president? >> i think he's careless. he'd be honored to meet with him and absolutely -- what he's doing is giving some heft now to someone who's terrible to his own people and has caused a lot of instability in that part of the region.
could diplomatic relations help this? perhaps. >> he could have chosen his language a little bit more careful. you may agree with that. you say the president should be commended for trying to find a new strategy in north korea. do you think praising kim jong-un is strategic? >> i think what the trump aed ministration has done that deserves some latitude and room to see if it can work. they're bringing a nuisance of urgency and trying to use both military pressure and diplomatic pressure and bring about the international pressure to get this guy to change his behavior. what we've learned is the way to do that is not by elevating the dictator in north korea. how do we know this can't work? because president clinton tried
it and it's not a criticism of president clinton but everybody has tried many different avenues to get north korea to behave. i remember the picture of madeleine ilbright hosting the the current dictator's father. they kept bribing the international community. they have continued to develop nuclear weapons. and the message he would get is nuclear weapons gets me legit mae maes and respect and there's no way i'm giving them up. >> sean spicer said north korea would have clear conditions before a meeting with president trump could happen. the u.s. would need see less provocative behavior. could this cause north korea to change course? to be less aggressive? >> i doubt it. i'd say north korea is where the trump administration's been most
effective in terms of its foreign policy. they've talked up these military force. and the remarks today just don't make any sense. why say you'd be honored to meet with this person you're trying to put so much pressure on? a bad day, not disciplined statement. it doesn't make any sense. it does elevate kim jong-un to a level he should not be elevated to. >> one is you're still american citizens being detained in north korea, held against their will. that's one thing to keep in mind. and it was just a few days ago where president trump wouldn't rule out some kind of military action. >> he said we could see a major, major conflict. but the question is how -- now he's praising kim jong-un.
he's saying he'd be honored to meet him. do you think the president believes his negotiation skills could solve his conflict? >> on the one hand, the president gives those kind of signals all the time, he's knowing to bring a new level of negotiation prowess. on the other hand, he's said he learned a lot about north korea and china and the problems in asia that he didn't understand before he was president. the president has actually put together a pretty solid national security team. h.r. mcmaster now running the national security counsel and they've done a very good job strategically of putting together a strategy and the president will undermine it unnecessarily and duterte in the philippines is a good example.
our military relationship with them is important for the strategy in asia and being able to counter china and north korea. it's however unnecessary for the president to invite him to the white house with all the respect and legitimacy that infers even though it's not necessary to call him out in a phone call, understanding how delicate a relationship can be with a hot head like this. >> i'm going to give this to -- president trump isn't the only one saying something questionable today. wilbur ross just spoke and said this about president's strike on syria at the mar-a-lago resort. he says as dessert was being served, the president explained mr. xi had something he wanted to tell him, which is the launching of 59 missiles into
syria. it was in lieu of after-dinner entertainment. do you think he's regretting his choice of words? >> the american people are tired of washington and the niceties of dip loamacy. you undermine the credibility of a military threat. when you praise duterte a brutal ruler in the philippines, it undermines your credibility with foreign leaders. it's a lack of discipline. there is a good strategy in north korea but they're not implementing it well. they've got to hone their message and stop i think saying thinks like this. >> president trump's recent comments have his press men scrambling. >> does the president have a thing with these totalitarian leaders? >> no.
the president clearly, as i've said, understands the threat north korea poses. i think someone with the potential nuclear capability to strike another country and our country at some point in the future is something our president takes seriously. so he's doing everything to consider in every way that threat from taking on the united states -- i understand. unfofrpinately those are the countries in the region. those are the currentries that can be helpful as we move forward. >> so i want to bring in chairman of the human rights foundation and the author of deep thinking. i know you're a strong critic of vladimir putin and an advocate for human rights. you know about a lot of dictators. and you've been noticing how president trump's been
flattering the world's strong men? >> when i hear him praising erdogan or duterte, it sounds like envy. president trump was fed up with checks and balances and could see other dictators, they can crush the press, they can jail judges, they can eliminate critics. and it looks good to him because he's now looking more and more internationally since he realized that his domestic agenda is not going to work out. >> the white house says -- and this is their quote -- very friendly convrersation with president due tarlt. he's over seen the killings of some 7,000 people for his
so-called war on drugs. what would be the consequences if that happened? >> his genocidal acts -- what is duterte, what is someone else? they could see trump's words and even action like inviting duterte to the white house as a permission to go on with what they've been doing. it's kind of legitimacy. and trump doesn't understand he's carrying all the power. defending human rights he could have one effect. ignoreing it completely, first time leaders in the world to move on with their agenda. >> we've been reporting that the president will have a conversation with vladimir putin tomorrow as a russian disdant, what do you think of their
relationship? >> look, we know that while trump criticize almost everybody in the world, never said a negative word about vladimir putin, even at a time when nikki haley and other officials harshly criticized russia for its support of assad in syria. trump was always silent. always positive about vladimir putin. i don't know what the substance of this conversation tomorrow but i'm afraid russian propaganda will use it to demonstrate putin is still very much working with other powers and he could even defy the free world and president of the united states. >> is it insulting? >> no, it's a problem that this president doesn't understand for regimes like vladimir putin or north korea or few others, confrontation with the free
world is the core element of domestic propaganda and anything you do by legitimizing the leaders, giving them an opportunity to go back to their people, selling them as equals to the president of the united states hurts our cause and al w allows them to step up with more conon ffrontatio confrontations. >> what do you think the conversation's going to be sfliek. >> i don't know. the propaganda machine will use it as a demonstration that putin is still a big world player. >> president trump brought up the unsubstantiated wire tap claims. >> you saw what happened with surveillance and i think that was inappropriate. >> what does that mean? >> you can figure that out. >> you called him sick and bad. >> you can figure it out himself. he was very nice to me with words and when i was with him
but after that there has been no relationship. >> but you stand by snat. >> you can take it the way you want. i think our side's been proven very strongly and everyone's been talking about it. i have my own opinions and i have my own opinions. >> but i want to know your opinions. you're president of the united states. >> that's enough. thank you. thank you very much. >> basically he doesn't separate from facts and that's what every dictator wants. in america it's not as deadly because your first amendment protecting the new york times. but it's matter of life and death. for instance, trump is silent about venezuela where another dictator has been dismantling the remaining pillars. a state owned company donated
half a million dollars to trump. >> he's been talking about changing a lot of laws. how dangerous would that be? >> i still believe u.s. systems resolute enough to survive trump. it will have deadly effect elsewhere because that's a signal. and when donald trump calls press enemy of the people, that encourages putin and uger dictators to go after what's left of free press. >> when we come back, president trump boasting about his first 100 days in office. is he in permanent campaign mode? life. intelligent technology can help protect it. the all-new audi q5 is here.
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any others in history. the co creator of show time's the circus. that's a fair assessment, don't you think? $150 million ad the trump administration has released to highlight its first 100 days in office pushing back on this criticism of the presidency and how it's gotten off to a rocky start. let's hear it. >> donald trump sworn in as president 100 days ago. america has rarely seen such success. america becoming more energy independent, regulations that kill american jobs eliminated. the biggest tax cut plan in history. >> 1.5 million. his first 100 days as successful as that ad? >> there's so much irony. this is the guy who says i don't needed avertising. i'm going to -- my words speak
for themselves. so the notion he -- they felt they needed to advertise these acco acco accomplishments and he said the proposal of the tax plan that has not yet even been akted on by either the ous or the senate. >> there it is. it's a proposal. and speaking of that proposal, most of what he's done has been through executive order and he strongly criticized the former administration for executive orders. is that hypocritical? how can it not? >> of course it is. but he's going to govern until election day. to be advertising 100 days out? you know just says that he already seems to be making cal kulshzs that whatever he's doing from the white house isn't
working. that sends a signal itself? >> was pennsylvania an advertisement you think? >> for him to say -- he said and i'm running against the media. the media elites are having a big black tie party and i'm going to go and talk to real people. i think the substance of the speech was a mistake. >> he skinned the white house correspondence dinner. let's listen. >> and i could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from washington's swamp spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people, right? right? >> so for the man that had attended white house
correspondent's dinner before, remember bh he got roast snd. >> which i think was the moment when he decided to run for president? >> they said there's nowhere on earth he wanted to be more than in that room. >> that was the moment i think a lot of people said psychology said i'm going to run and get back at this guy but then the irony that he wouldn't show when bhee came president. >> but it was very smart. >> it sends a right message to his base. nobody looks at that correspondent's dinner and thinks that's where most of america lives, breathes, and drinks. it's clear how much more he loves campaigning than governing. >> he likes to be loved. >> he's learning how hard it is to be loved as president? >> don't you have to win over some people who don't love you -- >> exactly, don. in order to win, you got to get
more than gift% of the country. >> his first 10 minutes of the speech were spent on the media. i was thinking he just sounds like -- i was embarrassed for him the way he was speaking about the media. >> if you keep attacking the media, democrats, at some point you have got to get a coalition for tuse get sick of winning. >> i was thinking about it in this way. i never think about my ex-girlfriend. she's the worst. and all you do is talk about her. that's what i was thinking. >> that's a perfect analogy. >> lavishished praise upon you. i want to play a clip from behind the scenes of the white house briefing room. >> cbs radio.
we have cnn. >> you got lot of real estate here. >> the acosta show. >> they got more real estate than we do. >> martha, by the way, makes the best brownies. >> so everyone thinks television's so glamorous. that's down stairs, away from the briefing room. it's not glamorous and it is hard work. >> it was a fascinating -- the briefing room itself has a storied history over the swimming pool nixon built it. if you're a journalist, that's the super bowl, right. and yet you get there and it is the most cramped, smelly, crampy place on the planet to do your
business. but that makes you appreciate what they do even more. >> when you become the white house press secretary, that's like the pinnacle. where do you want to be then white house correspondents' dinner? i felt bad for sean spicer because he worked for his whole life -- >> he should have come in with a chariot. >> it was fascinating and i appreciated the last scene the way you set it up. i think everyone should watch for the last scene. thank you. >> the last scene is the last episode. i've got to get a nap or two. - this show really eats you up, you know. >> as long as you're not dancing on the front lawn.
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the trump administration saying it's considering changes to libel laws. and with us an author and first amendment attorney and author of soul the first amendment. >> fantastic book. >> i'm going to start with you. the president' chief of staff says the president is looking into changing libel laws. >> i think it's something that we've looked a and whether it goes anywhere is a different story.
but when you have articles that have no basis in fact and on 24-7 cable companies writing stories about constant contacts with russia and all these other matters. >> you think the president should be able to sue the new york times. >> i think news companies and news agencies need to be more responsible with how they report the laws. >> there's no federal libel laws. i understand. so what could the trump administration do? >> really nothing except amend the constitution. as you said there's no federal libel laws. nothing for congress to do. we have 50 state libel laws and they're all limited on first amendment in a way that president trump doesn't like. it does make the harder for him to bring a libel suit.
it's meant to make it harder to rich and powerful people to bring libel suits against the pres. he can say that they're looking at this but they don't have to look much farther than the first amendment. >> you say libel laws should be restricted. why? >> he can appoint four or five justices to the supreme court that would have a different view than has been the consensus view since 1960. but look the press is irresponsible and there are too many loopholes in the libel laws and some of them need to be tightened up. for example you can say anything you want defamatory about anything in the world as long as you put it in a legal briefing a
and send it to the press. he's the major ben fish yare of the first amendment. he could be sued. the first amendment not only points out the pour against the rich and the powerful, it protects them like donald trump whereas in some countries in the world you may be able sootoo sue the president for what he said or insighting a crowd. >> and isn't he being sued for that right now? >> he is and i'm on his side because i believe in the first amendment. >> he's made attacks on the media arecuring theme. he's talked about this before running for president. here's february 2016. >> i'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write
purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. >> this was in march -- late march he tweeted this. the failing new york times got me wrong for two solid years. changing the libel laws the question mark. you say this twitter trail could be a gift to lawyers. >> what i mean is that in certain areas if the president goes to court if he has the united states go to court, his words can be used against him and very strongly. so i mean we've seen that already in the immigration case, in the sanctuary case. if he were to bring a libel case and he could. he's rallowed to. what he says about the press as an enemy can be used in the
case. and anything he says can be used. >> allen's not wrong in saying the one thing he could do is to appoint five supreme court justices. what he can't do is to get congress to do anything and what he can't do is to get this supreme court or any that we've had in the last 50 years to do anything. >> for example, president obama would have the right to sue him for saying that he wire tapped him. >> i think he does have the right. >> and he -- >> but allen, i think president obama has the righting to sue him and i think he would win if he sued him. >> presidents have the good sense not to bring lawsuits. >> you think he would win? >> sure i do. it's false, defamatory and the legal question is did he know or think it was false? i think that president obama if
he should ever decide to go to koertd would have a pretty good chance of prevailing on the ground that president trump must have known. that what he was saying wasn't true. >> i think i would defend trump on that one. i think where he'd have trouble is on discovery. then you'd be able to go in his mind and find out what he knew. >> i've got to go. i'm going to put this up. soul of the first amendment and that's what we're talking about and we're so glad you wrote that book. >> and floyd is the soul of the first amendment. >> i'm going to speak to two presidential historians and get their reaction. you too, unnecessary er visits. and hey, unmanaged depression,
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president trump has give. several days of interview that have people scratching their heads to say the least. but wait to you hear what our next guests have to say. co authors of "jfk a vision for america." so douglas you're quoted in an article just published talking about the president. you say it seems to be among the most bazar 24 hours in american presidential history. it was all just surreal disarray and a confused mental state from the president." that's kind of harsh. >> i was asked politico as a historian and it made zero sense where he's saying civil war nobody talks about and nobody knows slavery was part of it. and this bazar inviting of be
toing to meet with the philippines, who's a strong man and leader of north korea is an honorable man and smart and it's all been all over the map and then finally with the cbs news interview in the white house where he wouldn't answer about barack obama. why he called him bad and sick. so a lot of bad media after a strong speech for his supporters in pennsylvania. he kind of blew it by doing too much. >> let's dig in more on andrew jackson and the sivl war. here's what he said. >> i mean had andrew jackson been a little bit later he wouldn't have had the civil war. he was a very tough person. but he had a big heart and he was really angry that -- he saw what was happening with regard to the civil war. he said there's no reason for this. people don't realize the civil
war -- why? people don't ask that question but why was there the civil war? why could that one not have been worked out? >> is there anything in his record, in his history that shows he could have averted the civil war, andrew jackson? >> of course not. and it's been well talked about on your show. he's a slave owner. the trail of tears is known as probably the most brutal act of extermination. i'm not suggesting we don't study his presidency correctly but this is not an education lesson. i have to teach history. high school teachers are trying to teach history. this is antihistory. gaubally gook that he tossed out
there for no clear and parent reason. it's another remark, steven, that leaves a lot of people wondering what the president actually can knows about history and the world. >> so president kennedy gave a speech at harvard in 1956 and he said that our nation's founders were our nation's great writers and scholars. president kennedy was a historian himself. profiles incurage which won the pulitzer prize. he thought history was important and a necessary tool in policy making. >> this president has been criticized for putting family members in two positions. but the former -- you mentioned jfk. he got criticized when he apoined his brother as attorney general. >> so i think there is a legitimate concern about
apointing relatives to public office. i think fortunately for the country robert kennedy was one of the best attorney generals we had and he had experience working in the senate, he'd run a presidential campaign. so he was not someone who had a significant level of experience before he was put in the job. i think tats arer the important thing. their capability and qualifications. >> that's the criticism is that they have no political experience at all. >> tlahat's the main one. i've never been that hard on donald trump because of ivanka. if she's going to help stop him from doing tweets that disrupt the country, more power to her. but i don't know -- the problem is he may get more and more insul insular. with bobby kennedy, it was hard to tell president kennedy i don't want to tell you this in
fronts of your brother because they become the final arbitrator. there's always that fear of nepotism. and it was the kennedy years that created the nepotism law people try to avoid. and he was a legend in civil rights saga. >> stig around both of you. when we come back, could president trump release thousands of files on jfk's assassination?
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the all-new audi q5 is here. made daily life a guessing game. will i have pain and bloating today? my doctor recommended ibgard to manage my ibs. take control. ask your doctor about nonprescription ibgard. thousands of secret files about the assassination of president john f. kennedy could be released by president trump. back with me, steven brinkley and douglas smith. the president is in position to decide -- 3,600 secret files about the assassination of jfk to be released. what do you think? should they become public? >> i assume he will green light anything that opens up archives. >> are you eager to see them?
>> we're eager to see documents. i believed of the oswald assassination near ro theory. i never want to see a president keep things sequestered. >> this is not just history. it's personal. you're a family member. what do you think about these? >> i think it's fine to release the records, for public information. i think my father and rfk believe the warren commission report was accurate. larry schiller who worked on the book with me, knew marine oswald and knew jack ruby. and went back to russia with norman mailer and went through the kgb files with oswald. and he's convinced that oswald acted alone. he was a disgruntled, unhappy
man. and he needed to find an identity. but larry who knows the situation very well, never thought there was a conspiracy around it. and i think he's right. >> the book is beautiful. >> thank you. >> it's substantial. it's beautiful. the pictures are amazing. i don't know if we have a picture of you. what year did you say this was? >> 1962. >> "look" magazine. do you remember -- >> i was 5. yeah. >> you were 5, okay. what were you doing? that's you in the front. yu in the far left. and you said you guys are in a golf cart. >> i look a little concerned there because we're heading for a large hill at a high rate of speed. and we're being driven by a guy that wrecked his p.t. boat in the war. it was a lot of fun. >> who was in the cart with you? >> my cousin john. and the rfks and the shrivers
are in the backseat. >> you looked at the photographs. you looked at speeches and writes. what did you learn? >> we went through 36,000 photographs for this book. we have 500 photos of the greatest american documentary photographers. and i asked what i thought were the best and the brightest of our thinkers to comment on jfk's life. i have two secretaries of state. john kerry and henry kissinger. i have the dalai lama and rick warren in his speech to the ministerial association. conan o'brien, robert renn ford, gloria steinem, john lewis. i wanted to have a dialogue about the meaning of jfk's life now. >> go out and buy the book. it's amazing. thank you, gentlemen. >> that's it for us tonight. i'll see you back here tomorrow night. before we leave you, my favorite moment from the weekend, from
the white house correspondents dinner this weekend, in the nation's capital. here's comedian hassan manag. >> when i watch your show, i feel like i'm watching a reality tv show. "cnn tonight" should be called wait a second. now, hold on. stop yelling at each other, with don lemon. [vo] the grille is distinctive.
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good evening. thanks for joining us. i want to take you to what's happening in portland, oregon. may day protests going on in several cities, including los angeles and washington state. things in portland, where you see video of several disturbances. the official protest, may day protest, was canceled by police, because, police say, of the presence and the behavior of what they described as anarchists. we've been watching of a group of 100 or more people, many of them dressed in black. some have been setting fires. you see police tryin