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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Police Officer Killed, 2 Wounded in Paris Shooting. Aired 4:30- 5p ET
Aired April 20, 2017 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And we will go to Paris in few minutes for the latest on that attack.
[16:30:02] You thought it was a missed opportunity that he didn't come out and immediately say something about the attacks?
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN KIRBY (RET), CNN MILITARY & DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: I think the first thing out of his mouth should have been as soon as he took the podium is thoughts and prayers with the French people. And remember, there's a couple will of grieving families in Paris tonight. They're going to have a tough time of it, and this was an opportunity I think to show them a little bit of consideration. I did think it was a missed opportunity.
I also want to go back on Italy, Italy punches above its weight. I understand they may not be contributing 2 percent, and that's a fair target and we should hold other countries to it, but Italy is a terrific partner militarily. I myself was stationed in Italy for a little while. They host several bases to navy and to army and to air force troops. This is a country that honestly you can't conduct NATO operations without Italy being there, and they have been there through Afghanistan, they're there against ISIS. I mean, they're a real player, and I think he missed an opportunity to laud them for that.
TAPPER: We heard President Trump criticize the Iran deal. He has been criticizing the Iran deal ever since the deal was made. He said he thinks that Iran is not living up to the spirit of the agreement. He didn't go into any detail.
I have asked the White House exactly what -- rather the State Department what exactly he meant there. Do you have any idea what he might have been talking about?
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No clue. I mean, obviously, as you all have reported, it contradicts what Secretary Tillerson, who would be the person who would be most in touch with a lot of the authorities who would be overseeing whether they were abiding by it, had said in just the last couple of days.
So, what it sounded like to me was he saw the political reaction from the right to the comments and to the statements that were made by his administration and he thought, oh, I have to do something here, I have to make clear I'm not OK with the Iran deal.
We'll see what happens. We'll see what proof they provide, but the fact that it contradicts his own secretary of state I think is a big red flag.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I'm not sure it is a complete contradiction.
MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is another instance of them sort of having a fight in public, and I don't want to -- I don't want to give too much credit for strategy to Trump, but using the word spirit was important.
HAM: Where he can say Tillerson is saying they're abiding by the letter --
TAPPER: The question is, are they cheating? And he did not say that. You're right. He used very precise language.
KIRBY: He's referring to state sponsorship of terrorism and other nefarious things they're doing in the region I think is what he's trying to do.
But, look, there was no spirit to the nuclear. The deal was limited by design to get nuclear weapons capability out of their hands, and it has done that. Now, I understand we're still working through it and still have to make sure they comply with it, but it has done what it was designed to do at the outset. It was never about improving their behavior throughout the region and it was never about taking off our responsibilities to hold them accountable to that.
TAPPER: Right, the stuff wasn't linked.
Mary Katharine, the president finds himself in a tough spot right now in one way because American allies that were part of this agreement with Iran do not want him to rip up the deal. They do not want him to. Domestically, the president has a lot of supporters, conservatives, people who are strong supporters of Israel like Sheldon Adelson, who I think we just learned funded, gave five million dollars to the inaugural committee, this after not supporting Trump initially. These are people who really want him to tear up the deal.
HAM: Yes, and I think I'm not sure how much it hurts to play two sides of this ball and to say, look, I'm going to have a different tone on this than the Obama administration had, but ripping it up and saying they weren't complying would be quite a big act and they decided not to go there.
But they had these three-month evaluations, and perhaps they can change later in the game. But I think that's perhaps a signal that you are seeing Tillerson and McMaster leading on this. They seem to have won the fight over whether they were going to certify on the Iran deal and it seemed to go through normal Washington process, which many of his voters won't like that part. But I think as long as he is out there jabbing a little bit --
PSAKI: I think -- I think that's exactly what you're seeing, right? I mean, Tillerson and Mattis and the individuals who are responsible for, you know, the implementation component, they are looking at whether they are cheating on the deal.
We've always separated, always, even during the Obama administration, any state sponsors of terrorism and identifying them as state sponsors of terrorism and the deal. The question was about the deal specifically. So, I know it used the word "spirit", and that may have been a turn of phrase and I'm sure he practiced that, but what will be interesting to see is what exactly he's referring to because it seems to me he's referring to the deal specifically.
TAPPER: And, Gloria, one other thing I thought was really interesting, President Trump was asked if he thought that Kim Jong-un, the dictator of North Korea, is mentally unstable and, if so, can he be somebody that can be dealt with even, and President Trump did not take the bait.
BORGER: He demurred I would have to say. He said, I can't answer the stability question and I -- you know, I hope that he is, basically is what he said. I think, you know, the president realizes -- he also said, we are in very good shape with North Korea, which I'm not quite sure what that means.
[16:35:03] TAPPER: I think he means that the Chinese are on the case and doing -- and they're working harder than they've ever worked before.
BORGER: Right, and they'll work it out because of the trade deal.
TAPPER: All right. Thanks, one and all, for being here. Really appreciate it.
I want to go now back to the breaking news out of Paris, France, where at least one police officer and apparently the attacker have been killed in a shooting on the legendary boulevard, the Champs-Elysees in Paris, a short while ago. The boulevard, the Champs-Elysees, is still in lockdown. There's a massive police presence in the area as the investigation continues.
Unlike what you may have heard during the press conference from President Trump, although he theoretically knows more than French leaders would know, French police say, right now, it is not clear whether this is an act of terror, but authorities are not ruling that out. It is possible that there's more information going on behind the scenes that we don't know about.
Let's go back to CNN international correspondent Melissa Bell who joins us live in Paris.
And, Melissa, there were new developments while we were listening to President Trump. Get us up to speed.
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Among them, Jake, the fact that French authorities have now opened an anti-terror investigation. So, the strongest indication yet that French authorities believe that this may well be terror-related.
I would like to show you the scene down there on the Champs-Elysees as we speak. It was under two hours ago. We have a much clearer picture of what happened. We have had it confirmed by authorities.
A car pulled up alongside a police van that was parked right up there where you can see that massive police presence. A man came out of the car, began shooting at the police van. Of course, one police officer has, sadly, lost his life. Two others wounded. That assailant taken down by the police very quickly.
Now, we had heard those gunshots, what we now know were the gunshots and assumed they were something much less serious, and that's still the Champs-Elysees entirely cordoned off as the investigation into precisely what this man was hoping to achieve continues. But we now know an anti-terror investigation has been opened. And, of course, we're a couple of days from announcing a crucial presidential election here in France with massive amount of French voters undecided.
This is the image that's going to play into the narrative no doubt over the next couple of days. We've already heard from the far right, Marine Le Pen, and from the Republican candidate, that is the mainstream right, both tweeting their support for police forces and both really have been portraying themselves as the candidates of law and order. Now that the suspicion on the part of authorities is that this is terror-related, that is yet another layer that's going to feed into the narrative as we head into voting day, Jake.
TAPPER: And, of course, as we continue to cover the story, Melissa Bell, we need to remind our viewers that there is a real problem of terrorism in France.
Most recently, obviously, the "Charlie Hebdo" attack in January of 2015 was horrific, a major international story. Later that same year, the Bataclan and related attacks in November 2015. Last summer, I believe in July of 2016, the truck that barreled into a crowd in the vacation beach town of Nice, not to mention dozens of other smaller but no less lethal incidents individually for innocent civilians in Paris.
This is a big, big problem in France.
BELL: It is a big problem, Jake. It is an ongoing problem.
You mentioned those smaller scale attacks we've seen. I'm thinking of the last two we covered here, that CNN covered in Paris a couple of weeks ago, the Orly attack, a couple of weeks before that, the Louvre attack, both of them were carried out by men who focused, who were targeting authorities, who are targeting either the police or the military. As you say, they're out on the streets of not just the French capital, but French cities, as a whole of France, as a result of the state of emergency that we're been living under since November 13th attacks that you mentioned a moment ago, and that will stay in place until the month of July.
There's been this increasing tendency for assailants, for attackers in the name of Islamist fundamentalism, extremism, to turn their fire against the authorities. So there have been attacks on the police. There have been attacks on the military. This may be what we saw here tonight, since we now know that car pulled out specifically outside one of the many police vans that regularly patrol this street. Of course, as you can imagine, the Champs-Elysees one of the most carefully patrolled streets in the whole of France.
TAPPER: All right. Melissa Bell, appreciate it. Thank you so much.
After the 2008 presidential race, Governor Sarah Palin was given a contract at FOX News Channel. But now in the wake of Bill O'Reilly's ouster from the network, not to mention Roger Ailes, she will sit down with me to talk about her own experience working there.
Stay with us.
[16:43:49] TAPPER: Welcome back to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
Turning back to politics now, we learned today that last night, President Trump welcomed Sarah Palin to the White House for dinner. The 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate and former Alaska governor was one of candidate Trump's first big endorsers. She appeared with him early in 2016 and hit the trail across several swing states in the days before his victory last November. Some even speculated whether he would ask Palin to join his cabinet.
And joining me now is Sarah Palin herself, a former vice presidential nominee in 2008.
Thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Thank you. I'm honored.
TAPPER: So, you had dinner at the White House last night?
PALIN: I did.
TAPPER: Tell us about it. How did that happen?
PALIN: Well, President Trump had called to invite, just to touch base. So, asked me to get to D.C., and we'd be able to chat over dinner and asked if I'd invite a couple of friends.
TAPPER: So, you brought Kid Rock and Ted Nugent?
PALIN: Jesus was booked, so, yes, I invited my buddies Kid Rock and Ted Nugent, some bold, courageous, all-American dudes who I knew would have good conversation with the president and get to express a lot of good, middle class, work ethic type issues and policy proposals that they could all relate to, and that's exactly what happened at the dinner.
[16:45:08] JAKE TAPPER, CNN THE LEAD ANCHOR: There's an interesting picture of the three of you right next to the portrait of the former first lady Hillary Clinton.
Yes, yes. I think the picture says it all.
TAPPER: So let me ask you, we're approaching President Trump's 100th day. It will be a week from Saturday. What do you think? What kind of grade would you give him?
PALIN: I'm obviously extremely thankful that he has been elected because, you know, so many of us in America knew that the status quo had to go and we could not afford another term of Obama via Hillary Clinton's Presidency if she were to be elected, so very thankful that Trump was elected. Thankful that he understands that Americans expect America to be great and to be strong in order for the world to be more peaceful and more safe, more secure. So very thankful Trump is fulfilling a lot of the promises that he made to lead, not from behind but to have America lead from up front, letting the rest of the world know that, you know, we expect peace in this world. We don't want to have to intervene in other nations. We don't want to have to intervene and try this regime change throughout other lands, and we can get to that as long as America is safe and secure and is a leader on the globe, and that to me is Trump's mission, which I appreciate.
TAPPER: But they have called for regime change in Syria.
PALIN: Well, I think what the objective is though is to not have to intervene and tell any other country who should rule and how they should live and whether they should have a democracy ruling the people or not, and we're able to, like I say, get there by leading as an example, having our own ports swept, if you will, in America before we're over there telling other countries that they better sweep their porch. We've got to get it together here in America, be safe, be secure, be sovereign and solvent so we can be that shining light, that example for other countries.
TAPPER: Are you concerned at all about all the Goldman Sachs executives that President Trump has put in his administration, just as somebody who's talked about how the status quo has to go, how the dirt swamp needs to be drained? A lot of his supporters are surprised I think, that there are so many Goldman Sachs executives in the administration after he made such a campaign issue out of it.
PALIN: Well, I can really appreciate successful business men and women though who have strong work ethic and make good decisions in order to do well for their companies. I am such an opponent though of any kind of crony capitalism.
TAPPER: Yes, you were critical of him for the Carrier deal.
PALIN: Well, I was firing a warning shot, you know, wanting to make sure that the Trump administration kept in mind that much of the constituency, much of the base is expecting that the swamp will be drained and that there will not be any kind of embrace of crony capitalism. So with the carrier deal, I wanted to make sure that the President, his administration was reminded that we expect an even playing field. We expect government to not pick winners and losers, not one company over another like Carrier or some other, and not accusing them though of favoring Carrier over another company but wanting to make sure that we're not even flirting with disaster in that arena of crony capitalism and letting government pick winners and choosers and creating some too-big-to-fail businesses.
TAPPER: I have to ask you, Russian bombers have twice this week flown off the coast of your home state of Alaska.
TAPPER: U.S. Military officials trying to downplay it as nothing under the ordinary, but there are many in Washington who are alarmed and think that Putin is trying to send a message. What do you think?
PALIN: We should always be alarmed when we get wind of what Russia is doing right off the coast of Alaska. One thing that we really need to be cognizant of - and this has always bugged me that people have not appreciated Alaska's strategic location on the globe and how important we are when it comes to playing our part to help secure our union with our location and with our resources. People don't understand that Russia has for years now been physically literally flagging undersea plots of land with resources, claiming resources that are actually belonging to the U.S., they're Alaskan resources under seas, the minerals, oil, gas reserves underneath. Well, Russia has been really aggressive in flagging those, claiming those. And under the Obama administration for eight years, we never fought back. We never said, hey, get out of our territory, those are ours. So now I think with - the issue coming to light of how close Russia is to Alaska, to our resources and what they're doing to try to intimidate, to try to send a message to America and to literally be trying to claim some of our resources, I think people will now become more aware and start demanding of this administration to not literally, but start fighting back and start claiming what is ours.
[16:50:20] TAPPER: I have to ask you a question, and it is kind of sensitive, but you are in a unique role in being a strong woman who worked at Fox News Channel as a Contributor. And I normally don't cover a lot of media stories, but obviously the upheaval going on there with the CEO and its biggest star ousted because of sexual harassment, not just an issue at Fox News Channel but an issue across the country, and it seems to be with what happened with Bill O'Reilly really a change in corporate culture in terms of what is tolerated. What do you make of it?
PALIN: Well, I think the key there is that - you said I used to be with Fox. I used to be with Fox. Corporate culture there obviously has to change. You know, women don't deserve -they should not ever have to put up with any kind of intimidating workspace. At the same time, if a woman believes that she is being intimidated and harassed, she needs to stand up and do something about it, not stick around for a paycheck for years and years and years, and then after the fact complain about what she went through. As a strong woman, I say, you know, we should be - feel more empowered than that and we should, you know, take a stand and get out of the place or, you know, blow the whistle on the - on the - whoever is the perpetrator doing the bad stuff so that the culture will change. But, yes, obviously things are changing quickly at Fox. There are some great, great people who are there though, and I appreciate that, you know, what Fox News does as CNN, you know, adding to the discourse and to the debate, which is a healthy thing for the society. You know, more power to the good things that Fox News is doing but, yes, culture had to change there.
TAPPER: Did you ever witness or experience, God forbid, anything like that at Fox?
PALIN: I wouldn't put up with anything that would be perceived as intimidating or harassing.
TAPPER: But you said you're former, so I wonder was it part of the reason you left?
PALIN: You can ask them why I'm no longer with Fox. You know, I'm not - I'm not going to speak for them. My contract wasn't renewed, that's the line.
TAPPER: I don't want to be a jerk, but it sounds like you experienced something.
PALIN: I just - you know, it was time to part ways and, you know, get out there in - I guess, a more diverse arena to express views and to speak for the public, and that's what I've been able to do now.
TAPPER: All right. Well, I'm not going to push any further on that. But Governor Palin, we always appreciate you stopping by. Thank you so much, appreciate it.
PALIN: Appreciate you. Thanks.
TAPPER: From Vietnam to occupy Wall Street to the modern day D.C., he's been there with his guitar and a purpose. David Crosby talks about the soundtracks that became part of history next.
[16:55:00] TAPPER: We're back with our "POP CULTURE LEAD" now. The new CNN original series soundtracks showcases the role that music plays in defining history. And we spoke with singer, songwriter David Crosby of The Birds and Crosby, Stills, Nash - and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young about the power of song in protest.
DAVID CROSBY, AMERICAN SINGER AND SONGWRITER: If you start singing, it changes everything. All of a sudden you feel the brotherhood around you. All of a sudden you feel unity of purpose. All of a sudden you have your spirit lifted and it helps your courage come to the fore.
That's why we sing when we're protesting because it helps.
I remember seeing Neil's face when he was confronted with the picture of the kid dead on the ground.
He didn't have any choice. He had to write Ohio. It was too strong. One of the higher points in music history is when people do what I call an act of exemplary humanity. They stick up for what they believe in.
King, a great example of it. A man that walked from Selma to Montgomery when there were rifles in the bushes, man. That kind of courage we are supposed to celebrate them.
You can see the pictures, but the music will make you feel it more.
TAPPER: And you can catch the premiere of the CNN original series "SOUNDTRACKS" Songs That Defined History. It airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN. A programming note, next week we will be marketing - marking President Trump's first 100 days in office with a special prime-time edition of THE LEAD in addition to our regular 4:00 p.m. Eastern time we also will be on at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. That starts Monday through Friday. We hope you'll join us. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @jaketapper, you can tweet the show @theleadcnn, we actually read your tweets. That's it for THE LEAD, I'm Jake Tapper. Turning you over now to one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM."