tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN April 28, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
election victory lap speaking to some of his mostardoned supporters at national rifle association convention. this as he mirrors 100-day mark with health care. while funding another key item still on hold. thanks obama. tonight the president is accusing his predecessor of failing to vet michael flynn. barack obama is returning the favor taking a new dig at mr. trump. and harder than i thought. the reality tv star turned commander-in-chief says he thought his new job would be easier. is he longing for the simpler life aftof a billionaire. we want to welcome our viewers from the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." >> breaking news this hour, new
and very dangerous act of he can fieance by kim jong-un. by u.s. official now confirming that north korea just test fired a ballistic missile. this after president trump warned of a major major conflict, his words, with north korea. and secretary of state rex tillerson pressed the world community to ramp up sanctions saying the u.s. is prepared to take military action if necessary. also breaking, the president is personally trying to blame the obama administration for failing to vet his fired national security adviser, michael flynn, in a brand-new interview the president is echoing his press secretary's surprising attempt to deflect responsibility for the flynn controversy. the retired general, accused of possibly committing a felony by allegedly failing to disclose payments from foreign governments. as president trump nears his 180 milestone, he is basking in the warmth after friendly audience.
he spoke to the rifle association a few hours ago, nostalgic about his victory again, this after he thought the job of being president would be easier. up on capitol hill, congress delayed the threat of a government shut down for another week by approving funding for federal agencies until may 5th. congressional leaders put up key points of contention that are high on the president's to-do list including new health care bill and funding are fot border wall with mexico. this hour, i'll speak with congressm congressman gallago, democrat, and our analysts are standing by. first, to cnn's will ripley. he is joining us from pyongyang. will, you broke the story an hour ago. tell our viewers what you're learning about this latest north korean ballistic missile test. >> wolf, we've been going through numbers and this is actually the ninth attempted launch by north korea supreme
leader kim jong-un in the first 99 days of the trump administration. first attempt on february 12th. second, march 6th. march 21st. april 4th. and april 16th. one of those was four scud missiles launched simultaneously. we have learned this particular missile of this morning's launch is believed to be k and 17. this is launched from a mobile launcher. this is the kind of solid fuel missile that north korea has been trying to perfect and develop. they launched what they call the pukuk song, launched from a submarine. they can roll it out on a mobile missile launcher, launch from land, take it out of hiding quickly in a few minutes because it has the solid fuel, like an explosive jelly allowing the missile to stay ready for launch sitting and hiding as opposed to technicians having to fuel it up. this is advance for missile development. u.s. officials that are speaking with cnn say that it landed in
the waters off the japanese coast. so clearly this is a concern for south korea but also for tens of millions of people in japan. we know that japan has its anti-missile defense capability. we also know in south korea, the fad missile defense system is in the final stages of being put into service. perhaps just a day or two, according to the ults military. around the region, defensive capabilities are boosted. this is not an unexpected provocation from north korea's supreme leader. we had a very busy month here on the ground. we spent the last several weeks here in north korea on april 15th. there was the massive military parade the day after trying to launch a missile. that attempt failed. this week there was a massive live fire exercise. kreetian kre korean's army says it was the largest in their history. there was a simulated missile
attack on washington on the white house on the capitol and what appeared to be the uss carl vinson and around 5:30 local time, the time when north korea usually conducts tests like, reports of the kn-17 ballistic missile fired and traveling several hundred miles, we don't know the exact distance yet, we will get more intelligence as u.s. and south korea and japan measure data, this is off the waters of japan. it appears after failures, this ninth launch attempt by kim jong-un is a success. of course now the question, what will the u.n. security council do after that big meeting chair by secretary of state rex tillerson. how will president trump respond after comments a major major conflict with north korea could happen. you have china worried that this situation could spiral out of control. they indicated willingness to work with the trump administration to use economic leverage to reign in pyongyang.
that could look like unilateral sanctiones from china. they have suspended. there th is just early moments of what is going to be fast-moving developments here in this part of the world and we also expect an announcement on north korea state tv at some point they haven't announced it inside the country yet. we just informed our government contacts of the missile launch. they were not aware of it until we told them, wolf. >> very interesting, indeed. i assume there is a formal statement from north korean regime at some point. a lot of people here in washington they have feared for weeks now that north korea also would have another nuclear test. there are six, that has not yet happened. what are the latest indications you're getting? that would really raise ate larm if the north koreans were to do that. >> that really is the red line. certainly for the united states. and perhaps for china as well. we have seen a number of missile launches from north korea's
supreme leader. he launched more missiles than his father and grandfather combined. the nuclear test site was primed and ready for the nation's sixth nuclear test. spy satellites observe personnel and equipment at the site vehicles indicating they could push the button on the the launch at any moment. but latest images that being analyzed by u.s. intelligence has shown a switch that site. new digging operations taking place which led the united states to believe that at this moment a sixth nuclear test is not imminent. i asked north korean official a couple of days ago if they are bowing down because of international pressure, if they dialed back the possibility of that nuclear test realizing that they could face very grave consequences and certainly economic consequences from beijing which reportedly has warned pyongyang not to conduct this sixth nuclear test because the test site is a hundred kilometers from the chinese border. china, for for a long time helps support the regime with a
strategic buffer between south korea and 28,000 troops in mainland china, they are beginning to view north korea as national security threat for people them given the fact the tests are so close to their own border that residents have actually reportedly felt earthquakes because these explosions are getting bigger and stronger and so north korean officials say they will conduct more nuclear tests but not when they will do it but they will do it when they are ready despite what china or u.s. or u.n. or anyone in the world thinks about it. >> will ripley, only u.s. television correspondent in pyongyang, north korean capital right now. we will keep checking back with you. thanks so much for that report. this new missile test by north korea comes as trump administration is trying to ramp up the diplomatic and military pressure on kim jong-un regime. joining us from the united nations, at least secretary of state warning members that threat from north korea is both
urgent and real. >> that's right, wolf. today north korea calling secretary tillerson's bluff. because with each test regardless of how successful it is, regardless of the range, north korea learns more about missile technology and gets closer to what u.s. says is the worst case scenario. a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile that could be fitted with a nuclear weapon that could reach the u.s. mainland. that's why tillerson add stern warning for the world that it is time to act. when it comes to the north korean threat, time is not on their side. >> business as usual is not an option. >> with north korea racing towards a nuclear weapon that could reach the u.s., secretary of state rex tillerson in his first speech before the united nations said time is running out. and the world must act. >> failing to act now on the most pressing security issue in the world may bring catastrophic consequences.
>> as leader kim jong-un supervised live fire drills, president trump warned in an interview with reuters -- >> there's a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with north korea. absolutely. >> but tillerson called for a global diplomatic and financial squeeze on north korea. cutting ties with the regime, tightening existing sanctions and imposing new ones. stopping the flow of guest workers who send money back home and cutting trade. and said if the world didn't step up, the u.s. would. >> diplomatic and financial levers of power will be backed up by willingness of military action if necessary. >> the u.n. secretary-general said the quote absence of communication channels with north korea is dangerous. tillerson actually proposed direct talks with north korea on ending its nuclear program offering reassurance to kim jong-un.
>> our goal is not regime change. nor do we desire to threaten th destabilize the region. >> aaccounting for the 90% of north korean trade, they have leverage that is unique and the role is therefore particularly important. >> today the chinese foreign minister said his country is not to blame. >> translator: chinese is not the focal point and that the key to solving the nuclear issue does not lie in the hands of the chinese side. >> and china just one of the countries today that was really voicing concern about the escalation of rhetoric and need to cool the temperature before there's a miscalculation. and secretary tillerson essentially closing the meeting by scolding the council saying that if the international
community acted implemented sanctions and got tough, on north korea wolf, there would not be the kind of tensions that we see today. clearly the u.s. is going to be putting pressure on the u.n. security council especially in light of this recent very provocative launch. >> certainly, elise labott at united nations for us. congressman gallag joining us. thank you. >> thank you, wolf. >> what do you think the north korean leader is trying to get at by launching this missile. >> we should be focussing on the diplomatic and economic sanctions we need to reign in north korea by increasing the rhetoric in terms of military approach that we are seeing from secretary tillerson, department of defense and trump. it really only leads us to one direction. and in that case what you see is north korea trying to see how far they can go.
i think the best you can do now is to really focus on trying to reign in north korea, trying to give them an approach that ends with us not having a shooting war and basically that ends up being their diplomatic approach or economic sanctions that really affects them specifically companies from based in china that does business with north korea. >> following urgings of president trump, china has been stepping up pressure on north korea, so far at least, based on the latest ballistic missile test that happened a couple hours or so ago. does it seem to be working? >> we haven't gone to full throttles about economic sanctions. even if we wanted to do that we don't have the staff in place because of the efforts or i should say nonefforts, trump administration to appoint the proper people both in treasury department and secretary of state to follow through on secondary sanctions. especially if we want to go after companies that do do business with north korea. this is why i think it is really important that you know the trump administration really
looks at this at a multipronged approach and focused on diplomatic and economic sanctions before military actions. once you go into military escalation, there is no going back and there are many consequences we have to feel for years if that occurs. >> the fact this ballistic missile was fired from land and flew few hundred miles and landed in the sea of japan, east sea as it is called, does that suggest to you it is a success? last time they launched a ballistic missile it exploded within a few seconds of take-off. >> the message is not whether the missile is a success or not, the fact they are willing to defy the united states and trump administration and do it anyway under the threats that already been coming from president trump. and the end result was more based as symbolic level. which again, the reason why we need to approach this is not just on the military approach in terms of escalation of words and rhetoric. we need to hit this from the economic approach and make sure they start feeling the pinch.
i see china as doing the best they can but there are other companies that do work with china and north korea that we could make them have to make hard decisions and in the end put pressure on north korea. >> as we are speaking, i'm getting new information from ryan browne, pentagon reporter, saying there is a new assessment coming in from u.s. military officials. let me be precise and let you know what he is reporting. latest assessment by u.s. military said the missile was fired toward the sea of japan but not landing in the sea of japan. the missile blew up over land. official added it was a quote failure. main part of the missile landing approximately 35 kilometers from the launching point at the airfield. this is reporting, from the earlier information that the missile flew and landed in the sea of japan. that's encouraging. you served in the u.s. military in iraq, you know that even a
failure -- you learn from that failure. >> yes, absolutely. >> you pick up significant information. >> significant information and data, what you can use late earn a symbolic and a symbolic shoot to tell the united states that they were not going to be kout caught and i think it'll be beyond the brink and we should start heavily looking at economic sanctions, heavy economic sanctions. and the trump administration has not staffed the department state or treasury department to effectively bring in sanctions. >> congressman, stand by. we are getting more information. we need to take a quick break. we will resume all of the breaking news coverage right after this. who's the new guy? they call him the whisperer. the whisperer? why do they call him the whisperer? he talks to planes. he talks to planes. watch this. hey watson, what's avionics telling you? maintenance records and performance data suggest replacing capacitor c4.
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congressman ruben gallago. just confirming to cnn, a test missile exploded in fight. now to senior white house correspondent, jim acosta. any reaction from the white house to this latest provocation from kim jong-un regime? >> not as of yet, wolf. a white house official tells us there will be a statement shortly but the president was asked about this as he arrived wack here at white house from the trip down to atlanta where he gave that speech at national rifle association. he was asked a number of times by reporters shouting questions, he simply did not respond. likely went back inside the white house to huddle with advisors in order to put out this statement. but obviously wolf, this is something that this white house will respond to. the last missile test that was conducted by north korea was also greeted with a bit of
relief here at the white house and it was a failed test. and so we might see similar statements from the white house to that effect shortly. >> jim, the president answered new questions about the vetting of his fired national security adviser michael flynn and he pointed a finger directly at the obama administration. tell us what he said. >> that's right, wolf. that's the talking point over here by the white house, first white house secretary now the president blaming obama administration for the vetting of former national security adviser michael flynn. here is what the president told fox news in an interview earlier today. here is what he had to say. >> i do feel badly for him. he served the country. he was a general. but just remember, he was approved by the obama administration at the highest level. and when they say we didn't vet, well, obama i guess didn't vet. because he was approved at the highest level of security. by the obama administration.
>> of course what president has not mentioned and what white house press secretary hasn't mentioned, wolf, is the fact that president obama fired general flynn from his role as head of the defense intelligence agency. so yes he did pass security clearance during the obama administration but was also fired by that administration, too, wolf. >> on his 100th day in office web sounded very much like a presidential candidate today. tell us what happened. >> that's rights, wolf. has he is about to hit 100 days he sounds as if he is campaigning for four more years and despite a rocky first few months in office the president is showing no signs of shifting to more inclusive tone. consider how he sounded with that speech to the national rifle association. as he recounted his victory last november. the president seemed to be reveling in his critics and blasted the news media for predicting he would lose to hillary clinton. here is what he had to say. >> remember those saying we have
breaking news, donald trump has won the state of michigan, they go michigan -- how did -- donald trump won the state of wisconsin. wow! but earlier in the evening, remember, florida. north carolina. south carolina. pennsylvania. all the way up. we ran up the east coast. and you know, the republicans have a tremendous disadvantage in the electoral columns, you know that. tremendous disadvantage. and to run the whole east coast and then you go with iowa and ohio and all of the different states, it was a great evening, one that a lot of people will never forget. a lot of people. not going to forget that evening. and remember they said there is no path to 270. for months i was hearing that. you know, they are trying to suppress the vote. so they keep saying it so people
say i really like trump. he loves his second amendment, i love him, but let's go to the movie because he can't win. because they are trying to suppress the vote. but they say, i mean, hundreds of times i heard, there is no vote -- there's no route. they say, there is no route to 270 and we ended up with 306. so they were right. not 270, 306. >> now we should point out in just the last couple of minutes wolf, we did receive a statement from the white house from sean spicer on north korean missile test. it is very brief, wolf. this is not really going to reveal a whole lot. but it says the administration is aware of the most recent missile test and the president has been briefed according to an official i just heard back from, that briefing occurred on air force 1.
obviously they are being a bit h hesitant to say too much. we did hear from the secretary of state not too long ago who said they wouldn't be putting out statement every time there were one of these things because they don't want it play into kim jong-un's hands. and reward him for every provocation but the white house at least wanted to acknowledge that yes the president's been briefed. he was briefed on air force 1 and they are monitoring the situation, wolf. >> thanks very much, jim acosta with the latest. we will come back to you right away. we are back with congressman ruben gallago, member of the armed services committee served in the u.s. marine corps in iraq as well. let me get your thoughts. when the president of the united states blames the obama administration for failing to appropriately vet his fired national security adviser, michael flynn, what's your reaction to that? >> just further proves why his poll numbers are so in the tank. he is not acting as a president. not acting as leader. what happened to the buck stops here? this is the harry truman basically em bodied what a real leader is like. instead of just blaming other
people. obviously we know what happened with the obama administration. they fired him because he was erratic and uncontrollable general. and a lot of the actions that he par took after being fired are what stopped him from going -- >> you have gone through security clearances. >> absolutely. >> top secret, i assume you have that. >> yes. >> marine corps and member of congress, member of armed services committee. >> absolutely. >> he was fired as head of defense intelligence agency in 2014. 2015 he goes to moscow. trip paid for by rt, russian television, prop began saturday -- >> under the putin administration. >> in 2016 he gets top secret credentials recertified, i i assume by u.s. army, retired general of the army and state department i assume at least the u.s. army but that was during the a.m. administration. that's why they are blaming the obama administration for
requalifying him for that top secret level. >> and we should look into that. part of the reason why we should have share full discussion is trump administration should share with the intelligence committee the paperwork he turned in to be vetted which they are refusing at this point. we don't know what he spoke to when he was going through a security clearance. and this is why it is extremely important that trump administration work with the house democrats and senate republicans and bipartisan manener general to actually come forward and tell us what general flynn was, you know, being forthright with or not. but at the end of the day, you're the president. you are the administration. there is a reason why this man is fired and the fact that you hired him without being vetted -- without proper vetting, it is the responsibility of the trump administration. they should be adults about it and admit it. >> thanks very much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. >> up next, follow breaking news of north korean missile launch. confirmed by u.s. officials. how will president trump respond? the following ad is being condensed
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is there any official reaction yet from the north korean regime, will? >> so wolf, we called our government contacts and alerted them about this what now the u.s. believes is a failed missile launch. they were not aware of it. and given this new information from the united states, initially telling us a flu for 15 minutes and blew up over the wattsers of the japanese coast. now saying it blew up on north korean telltory, it never left north korean territory. this will not be acknowledged at all by north korea. they won't's nouannounce this. they don't talk about failures in this country. they only talk about their successful missile tests. don't expect anything at all said about this. we are guesting information coming in really in realtime. this is a secretive regime. they do not announce the tests ahead of time. it is not unusual to see conflicting information from different government agencies until all of the intelligence
gets together. they do have some assemblance of information sharing between japan, united states and south korea. they look at the data. that's how they figure out exactly what happened. in this case, this is believed to be a kn-17. we saw these rolled out at the military parade on april 15th. they are believed to be a scud missile variant. they have a pointy tip and are on mobile launches. this missile, one, north korea has had trouble with tests of this missile. they are still trying to perfect it. they've had other 17 launches that failed as well. in addition to this latest launch this morning around 5:30 a.m. pyongyang time, however this type of missile could be used as an anti-carrier missile. and given the fact that uss carl vinson carrier strike off the peninsula is north korea sending a message to the united states that they are trying to develop
these missiles that could be fired at u.s. warships which are stationed off the waters of the korean peninsula, and missile test failure also important to note wolf, north korea's supreme leader kim jong-un and scientists are not deferred by failures, they still gain valuable data each time there is a missile test failure and they use that to try to perfect it and try again. we have seen that over and over and so don't expect this to be the lastis m ill launch from north korea. and because it was a failure we're probably not going to see a severe response from the united states given what the trump administration said after the last failed launch in april 16th when they said they didn't want to pay too much attention. if north korea put any envelope into a missile launch that failed they would push forward to pressure the international community, china indicated willingness to do that the real red line here is the nuclear test. and now that there's been
another failed missile launch, could a nuclear test happen? certainly is likely possibility at some point, wolf. >> we zbagot a statement from t south military, saying north korea fired an unidentified missile in the northeastern direction around 5:30 a.m. local time from a site in the vicinity of the chong province. it is believed the south korean statement is believed to have been a failure. we are analyzing additional information. the south korean statement goes on to say this. our military is maintaining a thorough defense posture while keeping a close eye on the possibility of north korea's further provocation. we're going to check back with you, will. i know you're getting more information there, exclusive reporting for us, will, is the only western television correspondent in pyongyang north korean capital right now. we will get back to you shortly. in the meantime i want to bring in our national security and political experts and john kirby let me get your analysis of what
has just happened. >> as i said earlier, this is kim giving you the finger. giving china the finger. giving u.n. the finger. no question about that. i think timing is absolutely planned and preordained in his mind. as for missile itself, i don't believe there is any such thing as failure for him. clearly this one didn't go very far. probably didn't do what they wanted it to do. if it was truly a medium range missile it should have gone longer than that. he learnes from every single attempt and gets knowledge and gets intel and takes those lessons learned and just churned them right over into the next one. no such thing as failure. we will continue to watch this closely. >> following the president's statement in that reuters interview quote there is a chance that we can end up having major, major conflict with north korea absolutely. that's president trump. >> absolutely. there is no question. and i was in asia with the vice president last week on the dnz in south korea and japan. and the jitters there have been very real for, i mean, look, 64
years. but even more so since for the past 25 since north korea starting in earnest to build up its weapons program and get a nuclear missile and the fact of the matter is that the combination of these tests which i think you would probably, you can correct me if i'm wrong, is not unexpected given the fact kim likes do this around the anniversary of his grandfather's birth and up until another holiday at the end of the month, but that combined with words like president trump gave in that interview and fact that now they have confirmed that submarines have been sent towards the peninsula, uss carl vinson which announced it was going and it really wasn't and now i think is going towards the region. it really has people on edge there and therefore and we are talking about major allies and also with 30,000 u.s. troops in the region. >> if you could clarify something, there seems to be confusion on the part of the trump administration. when you interviewed the vice
president mike pence and you were with him along the demilitarized zone, he said the u.s. wouldn't have direct dialogue. but rex tillerson, secretary of state, says the u.s. might enter into direct dialogue, what is it? >> i'm not sure. but they are very, very different answers. you're right, i asked vice president very specifically, very directly, if the new approach, would it all entail bilateral negotiationes with north koreans. his answer was explicitly no. that is very different from what we heard from secretary of state. could it be their approach changed in the past week? possibly. or could it be that they are still trying to develop it and unfortunately came out with very different messaging. >> what do you think of this? >> the president is right he is trying to engage with china and have china enter the fray as well. what's concerning is that whether or not the administration is doing that the at expense of south korea. because south korea obviously very diplomatically challenged right now given the internal
dynamics that they are having politically at home and pressure we heard from the same reuters interview from the president that he is putting on south korea saying they will be paying the dismiss el defense program and with the u.s. paying for it doesn't help the situation either. >> it is not the first time we have heard contradictory statements coming in from the trump administration. >> nikki haley versus rex tillerson, same thing. you would like to say it is creative conflict that wined up with the best solution. i don't know if we can say that. i would say in the same reuters interview you cited wolf, donald trump said this is harder than i thought. it is complex. this is an example of the complexity that he is dealing with. >> let me interrupt for a second. i'm going play that clip so people can hear what he said about just how hard it is being president of the united states. >> i love my previous life. i loved my previous life.
i sod many thinhad so many thin more work than my previous life. i thought it would be easier. i'm a detailed-oriented person, i think would you say that. but i do miss my old life. i like to work. so that's not a problem. but this is actually more work. >> you were making it a point -- >> it is more work. you know, i think most of us who spent any time in politics and policy in this -- i wouldn't say roll your eyes but you think, holy cow. how can you not know that being president of the united states is maybe the most difficult job in the country. i think for him, you know, i think he thought like many businessmen do who run for office all the time as their first run in things, that oh, well, how hard can it be? i've run a business. i'll run it like a business. the truth of the matter is significantly more complex. as we have learned, you don't just snap your fingers and tell the house to pass health care. you don't just snap your fingers and tell china to do more with
north korea. there are complicated abtors in th actors in the country and in the world that is just beginning to grasp. reality is these situations don't wait until he gets read into them. they continue to develop and grow more complex and he has to sort of play catchup there. >> you were former spokesman at the state department. they want a diplomatic sgs solution but now there is word they want to cut 2500 jobs over at the state department, 9 or 10% of the employees at the state department. your reaction? >> put aside the fact there aren't really relying on the state department for much and diplomacy isn't taking a front seat in the car of formed diplomacy here. every administration wants to cut fat and i'm not telling you there isn't that the could be cut at the state department or pentagon but there is. you have to do it carefully and not the numbers but where you take the cuts and who you eliminate. what i'm not hearing from friends of mine at the state department is that mr. tillerson has done a good job sort of laying out what his strat yi is
and how he will do that. there is a lot of nervous people. >> we have unfilled jobs and we need them more than ever. we have a president saying i didn't know how hard this would be. my life was much easier. i say that in half jest but that is something what kim jong-un would say. his father died. he probably had a better life when his father was in power. this is one of the toughest jobs and most powerful jobs. i understand what he was saying along the campaign trail, meaning, i don't have to do this, i'm doing this because i want to for the sake of the country. at the time we are talking about missile defense systems and ballistic bombs going off and having allies in the region not knowing what to expect out of the united states, it is not a time to be -- >> it is fascinating, for those of us that are political junkies and nra speech today talking about the electoral college talking about the big win on november 8th. during the course of that interview with those three
reuters white house correspondents, he hands them each a map showing his electoral college win going back to november 8th. you're smiling. >> of course he did. i think he is going to do that until he can't speak any more. you know? or until he can't remember any more. it is who he is. he has always been even and especially when he was in the private sector. somebody who liked to boast about his properties and about his ratings when he was reality tv. this is about as good as it gets when you are talking about things to boast about. winning presidency of the united states. and it is part of his personality that he never going to change. unless maybe he does better, you know, in something else and then that will be the thing to hand reporters. >> just to add to dana's comment, he is always someone who felt like he was on the outside looking in. his dad was a big developer in queens, never went into manhattan. he went into manhattan, not
accepted by old money in manhattan. in the correspondents dinner, he was mocked by seth meyers outside of the political world. this is the greatest example donald trump will ever have of see they all said i couldn't do it and i broke into their club and now i run their club. so he will site thcite this bec is a fundamental core thing from the time he was 18 years old and the time he is. 70 now. that drives him. prove these people wrong. show them all they don't know better. november 8th was the ultimate show them they don't know better moment for him. i think he will say it right up you until election day 2020. >> so we shouldn't be surprised? >> i said this before on your show. people keep expecting him to change and become more presidential, this is who he is. he is 70 years old. i don't know why anyone would think all of a sudden he would change who he is and how he speaks and the language he use owned a daily language. what is alarming is when you have concerns about our closest allies not knowing what to expect and if they can trust
their closest and most powerful ally and that's the u.s. >> have you been around presidents, you briefed presidents over the years when you served at pentagon state department, it is not easy being president of the united states. >> no, it's not. this is what we call in the navy, steering by the wake instead of the bow. you you're looking aft instead of where you're going. john kennedy said, and i'm paraphrasing, speaking of nuclear war and the potential conflict, which we are facing with north korea, he said the fruits of victory shouldn't be tasting like ashes in our mouths. >> he said, this is the president, president trump, he said about isis, he said, quote, there is an end and it has to be humiliation. what did that mean to you? >> to isis, look, i don't know what they mean by humiliation. i hope that what he is talking about is destruction of ideology and narrative. a lot of their success is from
propaganda. from inspiring fighters whether they are there in iraq and syria or across the u.s. maybe he is talking about that. but look, this is a terrorist group like none we've ever seen before. mm quasi military. they are a lot less than two years ago but they still have capabilities and that's what military lever is used against and that's what they have to keep doing. destroy their capability. >> despite all of the efforts we have heard the past 2, 2 1/2 years. isis? control of raqqa, their calla fate headquarters and still in control of mosul. the second largest city in iraq. >> right. and at the end of the obama administration they were hoping, hoping, hoping that that would change. that that would be something that the president and his team could crow about. that they could, hand in hand with the iraqi army, change that. they were very close but didn't get there. >> he is a man who likes to declare victory. as we have come to figure out when it comes to battling isis and not an actual army it is
harder to declare victory in the battle and this is something he ran on. he ran on a hard for a year and half, fighting and eliminating isis. >> it is indicative of the hundred days i think, action, activity, rhetoric, with accomplishments result strategy much vaguer. say it. what is humiliation? how are we going to prosecute that? and the campaign trail, that's not really a follow-up that yes, because you're not president yet. when you're president you have to figure it out. i feel like the first hundred days, you have seen him be best when he is candidate trump. but he is now president. >> everybody stick around. don't go too far way. more on breaking news involving north korea and ballistic missile tests. that's coming up.
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. with hours-to-go before president trump's 100th day in the white house, has he been changed by the highest office in the land? the answer is probably yes. and no. let's get more from our chief political correspondent dana bash. >> reporter: candidate trump's prediction about wlap president trump would be like. >> i'm going to be so presidential that you people will be so bored. >> reporter: 100 days in, no one is bored. >> i want to pray for around if we can. ♪ money money money money ♪ >> reporter: if he was truly presidential, he wouldn't say this about his u.s. ambassador.
>> does everybody like nickey? otherwise, she can be easily replaced. we won't do it. i promise. >> reporter: he's the same guy he's always been and his reporters wooptd have it any other way. >> that's refreshing about the president is that he's hard charging. i don't want to change that. >> reporter: still, some trumpian behavior is even more jarring coming from inside the white house. going after judges as a candidate is one thing. >> but i have a judge who is a hater of donald trump, a heighter. >> it's another to do it as president. repeatedly lashing out on twitter against federal judges who rule against his executive orders referring to one as a "so-called judge." the president told us it was obvious from the first time he walked into the ovaloffs. >> he sat behind that desk and i
could just tell from the look on his face how moved he was and the privilege that we feel, both of us, to serve our country at such a time as this. >> which is probably why the political novice is changing some of his positions as he gets a high-stakes on the job education, especially on foreign policy. during the campaign -- >> nato is obsolete. >> now. >> i said it was obsolete. it's no longer obsolete. china -- >> reporter: and trump as president. president xi hands to do the right thing. >> reporter: trump changing position should be no surprise to anyone. after all, before he ran as an anti-abortion anti-obama care republican he had supported abortion rights and a universal health care system. which is why leading conservatives say they're relieved the president has
followed through on things like ie allowing states to deny funneledling to planned parenthood. >> i wasn't shurp that candidate trump really believed the things he was saying. i wasn't sure. particularly on the pro-life issue and on other issues. i think me came into office and did the things he did immediately that he made it clear he was serious about these things. >> reporter: while he may have been serious about not being the world's policeman he changed his mind as commander in chief, ordering air strikes on syria. what do you say to voters who say this is not what i signed up for? >> i'd say president trump is a man of his word. some would like to see a greater american involvement in if syrian conflict. the president's made it clear. we had a response to that horrific attack that was measured. it was focused.
>> reporter: so how much more change could we see? an introspective trump answered that himself. >> i like to think of myself as a very flexible 3erperson. i don't have to have one specific way and if the world changes, i go the same way. i don't change. well, i do change. >> let's bring back our chief political correspond dana bash. looking forward, dana, do you sense the more he settles in, the less change we're about to see? >> reporter: possibly, but i have to say. look -- i'm sure you feel this way as well, wolf -- after covering him, donald trump the politician almost two years now we've come to expect the unconventional and i don't see that changing anytime soon. do you? >> right. he also seems to listen. the last person who has his ear has the effect.
>> it's not so much the last person but it's the person coming up with the most compelling argument mplgt meaning he's very open to changing, particularly on issues of foreign policy that he's not fam with. it's not necessarily the person who he talks to last, which is true, i think, of other presidents and leaders. bill clinton was famously like that. with him, it's who makes the best argument. >> he's not really an idea ol og. >> right. he is and always has been somebody who wants to get a deal, wants to get a win and he is willing to change the goal posts, frankly, in terms of making that win happen. in that respect he's different from a lot of republicans who have run in the house, many of
whom are more ie dee log. >> tune in tomorrow. we'll be live tomorrow saturday 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. eastern in the situation room room. erin burnett "out front" starts right now. >> up front front next, breaking news. north korea firing a ballistic missile after trump warns of a major, major conflict with north korea. how will the president respond now? and on day 99 of his presidency, the senator he called "pocahontas." let's go "out front." good evening. i'm erin burnett. "out front" tonight, breaking news. north korea test firing a ballistic missile. this is the ninth launch attempt since president trump took