tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN May 14, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
to say. >> i think in many ways our stieg stie institutions are under assault, both externally -- and that's the big news here, is the russian interference in our election center -- and i think as well our tuinstitutions are under assault internally. >> internally from the president? >> exactly. >> clapper held key intelligence roles in both the obama and the george w. bush administrations. meanwhile, president trump is vowing to quickly name a new fbi director to replace comey. at least eight candidates are being interviewed for the job. trump may reveal his pick, he says, before he departs washington friday before his first international trip. athena jones, what are you hearing about the president being surprised over the backlash he is facing over firing comey? >> reporter: hi, ana, this is both remarkable and telling, the fact that the president was surprised at the response that that move got.
listen to what he had to say on fox about what he thought would be the response. >> i guess i was a little bit surprised because all of the democrats -- i mean they hated jim comey. they didn't like him. they wanted him fired or whatever, and then all of a sudden they come out with these long reports. look, i thought that this would be a very popular thing that i did when i terminated comey because all of the democrats couldn't stand him. but because i terminated him, they said, ah, we get some political points, we'll go against trump. >> reporter: and so it is interesting to hear the president talk about how surprised he was. he thought this move would be celebrated because of the past criticism from democrats of director comey. but democrats had come to see comey as a straight shooter, someone that they wanted to see continue to head up this russia investigation. so a lot of folks would say, why is the president surprised that democrats are responding that way? some of our reporting points to the reason why, and that is that
the president has taken much more of a go-it-alone approach on this move. he didn't loop in a lot of people. we often see the president or hear that the president likes to hear the opinions of the people around him on any number of issues, if he's considering making a big decision. he didn't do that with this decision. he kept this move, the fact that he was going to do it close to the vest. didn't even loop in the communications team until about an hour before, and so that is why you have a situation where because of not enough seasoned political hands were involved in the decision, there was no one there to say, look, this is not going to be received well. yes, the chief of staff, reince priebus, argued against it but it is clear the president didn't listen to him. ana. >> athena jones, thank you. joining me senior political analyst and former adviser to four presidents, david gergen. senior congressional correspondent david drucker and new york times editor patrick healy, both cnn political analysts as well. david gergen, your reaction to
what we heard from james clapper saying he believes the president of the united states is destroying our institutions. meantime we have president trump saying he thought his decision to fire comey would be popular. >> well, let's start out with clapper. i think it is a very significant statement on his part. he clearly is angry. he is angry at the president because he thinks he was used. the president has been citing him a number of times for saying in earlier testimony he was not aware of any collusion between the russians and the trump associates. clapper said, you know, in the last 48 hours, wait a minute, i didn't say there was no collusion. you keep quoting me as saying there was no collusion. what i said was i don't know one way or the other. that's very different. >> didn't have all of the information to make -- >> yeah. and the second point about this, the president being surprised. i'm very skeptical of that story, very skeptical. donald trump read the public mind better than any other candidate in this race, one of the reasons he's president -- the main reason he's president is he gets the public.
i personally think the very strong likelihood is he expected a backlash. he thought his base might stay with him, which he has a pretty sturdy support from his base. very importantly, he knew he would pay a price with the press and everything else but it was worth it to him. the trade-off was do i have to keep this guy or can i get rid of him and pay the price. >> worth it to him because of the russia investigation? >> because he -- yeah, he wanted to slow things down. he wanted to change the conversation. he wanted him out of there, rid me of this priest. >> interesting. >> that's what he did. >> interesting. david drucker, the republicans have been largely towing the line, standing behind the president. we heard james clapper also today say he wants more republicans to speak up and take a stand. why aren't they? >> well, look, i think republicans are trying to assess exactly what they're dealing with here. i mean the real problem we have here with the president's decision to fire james comey is the way in which he went about it and the fact that they keep changing their story. there is a case to make -- look, i talked to democratic voters at
a town hall in southern new jersey in the past few days who said, yeah, we think james comey should have been fired for how he handled the clinton investigation. we just don't think this is why donald trump fired him. that's the problem democrats have. had the president called in some senior republicans and democrats and said, look, i want to make a change. i think that the fbi needs fresh leadership. spent a week to ten days talking to a lot of people, meanwhile you start to leak names of high-level unimpeachable, credible law enforcement people you would like to maybe appoint to take over the fbi, then you reach a decision that appears deliberative and appears thought out. you already have laid the ground work that it is not about politics necessarily because of the names that would replace mr. comey, and at that point you still will have people yapping about russia and there's -- there are obviously concerns there, but the president's impulsive nature in doing this, the fact that he contradict his own staff after 48 hours including the vice president, is what makes this look really fishy. it is the president's unilateral
way of acting. in a sense he is running the white house the way he ran his family business, that makes this so troubling. >> family haven't been coming out and defending him this week, either. >> they've been very frustrated. i think to david's point, it is the family business but also the campaign. donald trump when he was running for president oftentimes went to a kind of high risk, high reward strategy. that's what he thought he saw himself as very much in opposition to all of these sort of typical politicians who ran, you know, with talking points, who followed sort of logical progressions of political strategy in iowa, new hampshire. he was a guy who saw himself as the original bomb thrower. that's what attracted him to newt gingrich, for a time what attracted him to chris cristie. you know, he sort of saw himself as someone who shook the apple cart. i think in some ways, even in the white house, even in these first few months you still see a president who is more comfortable -- i remember walking into his office, you
know, trump tower during the campaign and he would be by himself and sort of calling -- very much calling the shots sort of on his own. in that kind of campaign mode where he could be impulsive, where he could lean into his instincts on twitter and the campaign trail, that's what he likes. the problem is are these repercussions. he is running an entire government. >> right. i want to show you some of the repercussions because we look at the new number from this nbc/wall street poll, only 20% of americans approve of the gop's health care bill, 29% approve of comey's firing, 39% approve of president trump's performance. david, we were just talking about how eventually you've got that tirng point with republicans. should republicans be worried? >> definitely, especially when they've got this health care fight coming up and they've got a health care bill coming out of the house that only commands the support of less than a quarter of the people of the country and, you know, it has 2-to-1 opposition against it. where do you go with that when you have to ask people to walk
the plank for some very, very tough decisions. i think this cumulatively could have an impact over time. i continue to believe, watch the public opinion polls. if his base cracks more, if it erodes more, i think republicans will go the other way. until then, i think as long as he can hold his base -- >> yeah. >> -- he can make it through this. >> and i tend to think, david, he's going to hold his base. i think he's going to hold a decent part of the republican party because they feel like they were persecuted under eight years of obama and they're just not going to let go. however, i think what the president did -- and you're right about the agenda they're trying to move through. when you have tax reform, health care reform and a spending bill and you throw this hand grenade into the middle of the senate because republicans in the senate are on the hook for confirming another fbi director, and on the house side, even though republican house districts are pretty safe, you've got 24 -- 23 republicans in districts that hillary clinton won and it is a 24-seat majority. in these suburban swing
districts the republicans could be in a world of hurt. the senate is not in play. they could miss out on an opportunity to gain seats, but it is not in play. in the house because of the way the seats are structured where hillary won 23 of these particular seats, that in a sense if this got out of trouble they could be in deep trouble. >> we got an opportunity for the president to make a decision that might swing some popularity back in his favor, right, when he picks who will be the next fbi director. and you talk about the senators having some real influence, what happens in the senate, lindsey graham spoke out and gave this advice to the president today. >> the president has a chance to clean up the mess that he mostly created. he really i think did his staff a disservice by changing the explanation. so i would encourage the president to pick somebody we can all rally around, including those who work in the fbi. >> so, patrick, what can the president do to fix this mess, as he puts it?
>> one thing i think a lot of people are concerned about, including in the senate, is that he may end up picking a politician who will raise questions of whether president trump put a loyalty test to him, sort of a loyalty oath. this came out through powerful reporting by cnn, by the new york times, that president trump basically confronted james comey on occasions and asked him essentially for loyalty, for honesty, you know, for both. it kind of went beyond what i think typically a president would do with an fbi director. now you're looking at the senate who is going to say, look, we want to try to get back to legislating. we want to try to get back to tax reform, to health care, and we don't want to have a long fight about this. the reality is that nominee could be divisive. >> i think he could have a real log jam over this nominee. there are a lot of democrats who believe -- no matter who you put in there, the system is going to be run by the president and by the a.g. >> because it is the president and a.g. selecting this person. >> absolutely. sessions said he was recusing
himself and then he was right in the middle of the firing of comey? that's recusal? there are a lot of people who say, if you leave it to these people you can't trust the outcome. so, yes, we will vote, mr. president, for your fbi director if you give us an independent prosecutor for the case. take that piece off of what the fbi director does and give it to a special prosecutor, let the fbi director, the new person run everything else, but if we really want to have an outcome in which people are going to have faith, then why not put it under an independent prosector? if you're not willing to do that -- >> there could be inherent question about white house -- >> why would he do that when he believes, and he still does, the comment he made during the campaign that he could go out on fifth avenue and shoot someone and his voters would still stick by him. i totally agree about the opinion polls and david's right, that's the numbers we have to watch. but the president's certainty of himself, that he alone can fix it. like we saw on "saturday night live" last night, sort of paul ryan coming in and kind of
waiting on president trump and doing whatever he wanted, that may not be reality but from his point of view he still thinks that he can take these actions and drive the press corps crazy and drive these republicans crazy, and that the voters will still stay with him. >> i really quick want to play what nikki haley had to say today because she brought up the importance of loyalty to this president, and here is how she sees it. >> i think when you take the job you automatically assume that you work for the president, and you are part of a team, and loyalty is a big thing. it is -- you know, as a former governor, i can tell you loyalty and trust is everything when you're a ceo. so i can totally understand why he's looking for loyalty and trust because -- >> loyalty to the constitution first, correct? >> of course. >> david drucker, what did you make of that? >> look, if -- i think we all know that whether you're a president, whether you're an fbi director or whether you're a lowly bureaucrat so to speak, you take an oath to defend and protect the constitution of the united states. you don't even take an oath to protect really the country.
you don't take an oath of loyalty to the united states. you take an oath to the constitution, our system of government. the protections that our democracy has. i think that these are the kinds of things that the president wants to hear, but even in the president in his interview on fox news discussing the fact that he thought it would be good for an fbi director to express loyalty to the country, i even think that misses the point of what makes us different as a country and what is expected of our public officials. i think that is a part of this, because i think that trump -- and it gets back to how he views himself in the oval office. he sees himself as the ceo of the united states, but he's not. >> he's not, thank you. thank you. >> we are -- and it is kind of annoying, and i know a lot of politicians -- >> very annoying. >> -- think it is annoying, they actually are our employees and we're the ceos. i think that he has to wrap his arms around that.
we have installed him in a position to do a job, but he's actually the employee. and i don't even necessarily think he means ill by this, but i think it is hard for somebody who has worked for himself his whole life, especially at this age, who is not steeped in conservative or liberal principles and in government institutions to really understand that. >> i know we could talk on and on about this, gentlemen. we got to leave it tlchlt thank you all for joining us. we appreciate it. david drucker, david gergen and patrick healy. coming up, tale of the tape. a look at tradition of president's secretly recording conversations and why some wound up regretting it. later, spicy takes the podium for a spin. the epic return of the white house "snl" press secretary. ♪ use the chase mobile app to send money in just a tap,
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♪ i'm dr. kelsey mcneely and some day you might be calling me an energy farmer. ♪ energy lives here. ♪ ♪ ♪ sfx: engine revving ♪ (silence) ♪ remem . president trump raised the specter of richard nixon this week when he hinted at having secret white house tapes in a tweet directed at fired fbi director james comey.
but nixon didn't come up with the idea of recording conversations in the oval office. that belongs to franklin d. roosevelt who hid a microphone in a lamp after he felt he was misquoted by the press. what followed was a three-and-a-half decade stretch of u.s. presidents taping in the white house. i want to bring in cnn presidential historian douglass brinkley. douglass, of the presidents that we know of who did this, was the fear of being misquoted the big motivation? >> absolutely. people want to have a transcript of something significant that took place for history or wanted to have a record if they had an adversary and, you know, wanted to make sure they could be proven right in the end. each president kind of used this taping system in a different way. john f. kennedy used it quite effectively during national security meetings, trying to get all of the arguments of everybody. famously during the cuban missile crisis. johnson loved the telephone and he liked to wheel and deal on the phone, and so they're
incredibly fun to listen to this sort of texas cowboy twang of johnson trying to wrangle votes out of senators and congressmen. nixon brought it to a new level because he had this brand new technology called voice-activated taping which could pick up things in rooms all over the white house. you could be in a parlor, in a bedroom, you could be just having a cup of coffee and suddenly these tapes picked things up. so we have a scholars, thousands and thousands of hours of nixon tapes. >> do you see any parallel today, given trump's own tumultuous relationship with the media that could lead him to want to tape his conversations? >> well, i think there's something about a grand ego, about wanting to tape. like my words are so important some day people will hear them. barack obama just said yesterday that he did not do systematic taping of any kind in the white house, but i remember when he went to the lyndon johnson
library he was playing the machine over and over again, listening to some of these johnson tapes and he liked them because, you know, you do get to capture your gold star moments, and later they're in a museum or used for documentaries and the like. so it is possible that donald trump decided -- he is a reality tv mogul -- that he was going to set up some kind of modern bug, a pick-up device and would collect conversations. i don't believe he did that. i don't think he had the time or the wherewithal to do that, but we'll have to find out. he intimated he made one. >> right. barack obama, going back to the former president, we did talk with david axelrod who said they did from time to time tape conversations with journalists just to have like a backup, to make sure that the articles were completely accurate, but no systematic recording. u.n. ambassador nikki haley was asked this morning about a possible white house taping system right now under president trump and here is what she had to say. >> did you ever assume you were
being taped in the white house? >> i did not. but i assume i'm being taped everywhere so i never worry about that. >> douglass, she said she just assumes she is being taped everywhere. does she have a point? is that how people should operate? >> she has a good point. that's a 21st century modernist point. you never know who is filming you, taping you, hacking into your e-mails. this is kind of a strange era where private identity and private moments seem to be going by the wayside. but that does mean that she operates with a kind of caution, no matter where she is. she is thinking somebody might have a listening device. it is so easy today to have a cellphone pick up things or there are little gizmos you can get from a spy store in greenwich village. so it would behoove them to assume they can be recorded. >> and don't say anything you
don't want recorded. >> right. in warld war ii we brought over german pows who went out to smoke cigarettes in a grove of trees thinking they could talk and the u.s. government bugged the trees they were smoking cigarettes under. we had tapes about all of these german secrets. so bugging is a big part of government operations. >> this is also interesting to me. i want to ask you real quickly about some new information we just got in. the fired u.s. attorney in new york just wrote a newly-released op ed for "the washington post" and i want to read one line. in the tumult of this time, he writes, the question whose answer we should perhaps fear the most is the one invoked by that showdown. are there still public servants who are prepared to say no to the president? douglass, are people -- are there people out there who will say no to president trump? was this an issue for nixon as well? >> it is. it was. i mean everybody was afraid of the boss because nixon would
throw a temper tantrum. people couldn't say no to him. they were all sycophants. people like kissinger would walk in and nixon would say, we're going to bomb this country, and kissinger would say yes, sir and not carry out the order. trump is an island to himself. he has no alter ego, nobody like colonel house with woodrow wilson or ted sorenson with john f. kennedy or james baker with regan. there's nobody he can open up to, debate, talk on an equal footing. that's a big thing that's happening here. only donald trump knows what he's doing and he's doing a lot of ridiculous things, particularly with his tweets. >> all right, douglass brinkley. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. >> coming up, we have breaking news. a dire threat from north korea directed directly at the u.s. the regime saying this weekend's test was to see if a missile could carry a large nuclear war
head. the north has a warning for the united states about how and what it claims it is now capable of. that's ahead. we're live in the "cnn newsroom." ♪ but there's plenty of time for scotts outdoor cleaner plus oxiclean to work it's magic. all while being safe to use around plants and grass. guaranteed. this is a scotts yard. at holiday inn express, we don't just get you ready, we get you the readiest. to prove it, we took dennis, who's here for a convention and put him in a nationally televised dance competition. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ (cheering) ha! holiday inn express, be the readiest.
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i ♪ breaking news. a chilling new threat from north korea is directed kwar ssquarel the u.s. north korea claims its newly tested missile can carry a large nuclear war head. this warning comes 24 hours after a ballistic missile test kim jong-un described as a victory. the rogue nation warning the u.s. not to provoke it because north korea claims the u.s. main land is now within range of its missiles. let's bring in international correspondent david mckenzie in beijing. david, is there any way to verify these frightening claims by kim jong-un's regime? >> reporter: well, we can verify
certain aspects of these claims, ana, and it is a very disturbing and successful, it appears, missile test from pyongyang, from kim jong-un, who according to the state media personally supervised the launch of this missile. now, what we do know, what lines up between their account and experts and u.s. officials, this was a missile launch that appears to be a medium-range ballistic missile fired from northwest of the capital. it flew at a very high altitude of around 1300 miles towards the east sea, the sea of japan, and landing somewhere close-ish to russia. it has really drawn condemnation from the white house, from president trump, from the chinese, and from the russian president verpla
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boost® the number one high protein complete nutritional drink. . as you know, sean is fulfilling his duty as an officer in the naval reserve, and that is why he cannot be here. >> uhm, i'm pretty sure i can see him hiding in those bushes. >> you are clearly articulate and charming whereas sean is bullish. >> you know why i had to put your pants out, because your pants are lying. yeah, yeah. you lie all the time, you pants get on fire. liar, liar, pants on fire. >> well, looks like sean spicer's out of the bushes, back on the "saturday night live" spotlight. melissa mccarthy returning to
host last night's episode. she played her well-known role as the white house press secretary. here is just a little more. >> i promise i'll talk better! ♪ >> mr. trump, i need to talk to you. have you ever told me to say things that aren't true? >> only since you started working here. >> i don't think i can do this anymore, mr. trump. they're gonna -- they're saying that you're gonna replace me with sarah. >> come on, sean, i would never do that. she doesn't have her special spice. >> here with reaction, cnn.com contributor and host of the dean obodalo show, also with us from l.a. senior reporter and for
media politics dylan buyers. i want to get your reaction, dean, what did you think about last night's episode and melissa mccarthy's portrayal? >> i hope people appreciate it is the highest form of political comedy. you are learning and laughing at the same time. think what they did with this show was amazing. she was knew aunlsed. she almost mailed sean spicer s sympathetic. i wrote today, please don't fire sean spicer. america needs the comedy. >> you don't think it has played out? >> i don't think so. i think trump a little bit so, but this hasn't yet. it was fun. this was a really nuanced portrayal if people watch it. you become sympathetic for sean spicer at some point through melissa mccarthy's depiction. you find out donald trump is the one saying, i'm the one lying to you. it is making a political point. many on the left say trump is giving spicer lies.
spicer is complicit a bit. >> there are rumors he could be replaced. he was obviously earlier this week on some naval -- navy duty, naval reserve duty and that's why we saw sarah huckabee sanders come in. but is there any truth to this possibility that spicer's on thin ice? >> there's absolutely a possibility, ana. it is hard to know, like so much of what comes out of this white house, it is hard to know what is true and what is not. you know, both sean spicer and sarah sanders sat down for a meeting with the president on friday morning. came away from that meeting with the impression they had the president's full confidence. lo and behold later that day the president goes and gives an interview in which effectively throws his communications team under the bus. when he's asked repeatedly, will sean spicer be in this job tomorrow, he refuses to give a clear -- a clearance, a clear
affirmative, a clear endorsement of the spokesperson who has been with him since the beginning. i would just say to dean's point, there is something true about -- you know, there's truth to all of these skits that "saturday night live" has been giving us since trump came into office. the truth here is that trump would love to blame the bungled comey firing on his communications team, and i think he legitimately believes his communications team is to blame for how poorly this went. and of course that's not the case. the buck in this case very much stops with the president, or at least it should stop with the president. he failed to anticipate the blow-back that was going to happen here. he failed to brief his communications team on exactly how everything went down, on what his thinking what, only letting them know about this about an hour before he made the decision. so, you know, as much as we want to laugh at sean spicer, laugh at sarah sanders, the most comedic figure is the one played by alec brooke baldwin and
that's president trump. >> you talk about the importance of laughter in these day and age when things are so tense, but in your op-ed you wrote for cnn.com, you write, there's a fear of comedy, where that comedy will minimize the grave risk trump poses to america, at least as seen by those who oppose him. do you think that's happening? >> think that "snl" is very aware of that. i'm not trying to get into their head. i worked for "snl" for eight seasons. i have not talked to writers, i don't know what they're thinking. you had sean spicer as a sympathetic character, not donald trump. he is the heavy, saying i lied to you, you're lying for us. i think the fear is alex brooke baldwin -- i wrote and article a few years ago, he is aware of it. make people won't want to laugh anymore. if you keep mocking donald trump he becomes almost likable. i'm muslim, my community is concerned about donald trump. immigrants are concerned,woman are concerned about donald trump on a whole different level.
it is not political, it is personal. i keep telling conservatives it is not political, our concern is very personal. i think they're doing a great job with the humor not making him likable but the bad guy. >> that leads me into the question for you, dylan. you talk about people feeling this urge to really speak out right now. sports normally a teflon world where athletes and coaches go out of their way to avoid making waves with the media. one of the most under stated coaches, the five-time championship coach of the san antonio spurs, gregg popovich, he is usually understat understated but he was anything but that here. listen. >> it was a very weird night for many reasons, which i don't think any of us can, you know, grab on to. it is like trying to figure out the presidency, same thing. just i feel like there's a -- a cloud, a pall over the whole
country in a paranoid, surreal sort of way. it has got nothing to do with the democrats losing the election. it has got to do with the way one individual conducts himself, and that's -- it is embarrassing. it is dangerous to our institutions and what we all stand for and what we expect the country to be. but for this individual, he's in a game show, and everything that happens begins and ends with him, not our people or our country. every time he talks about those things, that's just a ruse. that's just disingenuous, cynical and fake. >> dylan, he had a lot to say there. we all turn to sports often as a diversion to get away from the politics. what dow make of this? >> first of all, those are just more words than gregg popovich has said in the last five years
right there. so that's really remarkable. >> right. >> i mean he really is, as our colleagues at tnt know, he's rather silent. no, i mean, you know, extraordinarily poignant. look, i think you and i know this, everyone knows this. it is impossible to avoid politics right now. it is impossible to avoid trump. it is the only story. it is sucking all of the oxygen out of the room. there's certainly debate happening out there about how political sports have become, whether or not sports should continue to be sort of off on the side as a diversion. you know, i think my take on that is how? how can you possibly avoid what's going on in the country right now? how can you avoid the political climate that we live in? look, my condolences to popovich because they blew a 23-point lead they had in the third quarter they had a few hours ago. >> they lost in the end. >> look, the fact, he's coming off that game and still has trump on the brain. it is impossible to ignore this story. it is why we talk about it 24/7 and it is an important story to
cover. >> thank you. coming up, a source says it is no longer a matter of if but when the airline industry preparing for what could be the biggest security change in years. you're live in the "cnn newsroom." life. intelligent technology can help protect it. the all-new audi q5 is here. it's just a burst pipe, i co(laugh) it. no. with claim rateguard your rates won't go up just because of a claim. i totally could've - no! switching to allstate is worth it.
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to night the airline industry is bracing for some turbulence from angry european passengers. the struck administration is considering expanding this laptop band and other electronics in the cabins of flights bound for the u.s. cnn's renee marsh has the details. >> reporter: as the u.s. moves toward expanding its band on all electronics larger than a cellphone from the main cabin of u.s.-bound aircraft, airlines are in preparation mode. the department of homeland security is preparing to announce it will expand its electronics ban to europe. right now the ban is in place
from ten airplanes in eight muslim majority countries. an expanded ban could impact more than 350 flights a day, the europe to u.s. track is the world's busiest international corridor. du delta, united as well as american airlines are the carriers that would be impacted the most. they have most flights on this route. right now airlines are trying to figure out new protocols and policy for they are also working to reconfigure the set up for flights bound to the u.s. they said that the ban was put into place because intelligence suggests that terrorists have perfected their ability to hide explosives in the battery components of these electronics. european officials are voicing safety concerns that there will be a large number of electronic e devices with lithium ion batteries in the cargo hold, but
the faa says dangers associated with the batteries are reduced because they are spread out in bags, pieces of luggage and are not stored together and on top of each other. >> coming up, it's a land of stunning scenery. the mysterious history we have a preview of the new episode of "parts unknown fts kwths. this haircolor is for new from l'oreal.. féria rose gold. multi-faceted, shimmering color. this féria has pure dyes and a kick of metallic reflects. live in color. live in rose gold from féria metallics. by l'oreal paris.
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so we know how to cover almost alanything.ything, even a coupe soup. [woman] so beautiful. [man] beautiful just like you. [woman] oh, why thank you. [burke] and we covered it, november sixth, two-thousand-nine. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ in tonight's new episode of "parts unknown", anthony bourdain takes us ta o place he
anthony bourdain to talk about the food and culture he explored there. >> laos has opened up to some degree, probably out of financial necessity, like so many of the communist states over time, they had ed it. but this is a country the mountainous, rural, agricultural nation that a lot of people don't know about, it's a country that was just where a cia funded and managed secret war persisted from the late '50s to '70s and an air campaign that dropped more bombs on this tiny country than all of europe and japan combined during the entire length of warld war 2 where those were active. >> there's an impact today from
that war back in the '60s? >> i would say the government is paranoid about maintaining order. unlike vietnam when president obama was greeted warmly and there were cheering crowds in the streets, i was told when i was there when president obama visited laos, shopkeepers were told to stay inside and not display any signs of happiness or encouragement. i think they are it haltingly entering a new phase, but people were less -- people will talk openly in vietnam or much more openly. even cuba than in laos where people were very careful about how their words might be perceived. >> did that sense of guardedness surprise you? >> it's something i have experienced before. i guess i was saddened by it,
but we employed a lot of ethnic tribes, to fight other lay yoegss and so there's that fear of an enemy within that's always present. we had to be sensitive to that. how they might be implicated in something i say. i can say what i want and go out to lunch now, they have to live with the consequences of what i say. >> what defines the food in laos? >> it's a powerful influence in neighboring thailand.
>> parts unknown tonight, the laos edition. thank you vefor joining us. happy mother's day. mom, i i love you. have a great week, everyone. in the early 1960s, three young cia officers arrive d in laos. a sleepy, mount announce country of barely over 2 million people, mostly rice farmers. their mission, stop the spread of communism.