Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Calls on Muslim Nations to "Drive Out" Terrorists; Sea Lion Yanks Girl Into Water By Her Dress; VP Claims No Knowledge of Flynn Probe Pre-Inauguration; North Korea Launches Another Ballistic Missile; The Rock, Tom Hanks Announce 2020 Presidential Run on SNL; Wall Street Worries Russia Probe Will Stall Trump Agenda. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired May 21, 2017 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:00:06] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: We're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with us.
Up first tonight the breaking news: Riyadh reset. President Trump, the man who rode into office on a proposed Muslim ban and once declared Islam hates us, offering a new message to leaders of the Arab world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people all in the name of religion. People that want to protect life and want to protect their religion. This is a battle between good and evil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Something you didn't hear in that speech, the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism" which Trump used often as a candidate, but the president did have three other words on the issue of confronting terrorism. Drive them out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: A better future is only possible if your nation's drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists. Drive them out. Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy lands. And drive them out of this Earth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to bring in CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson. He is in the Saudi capital where the president made that speech.
Nic, the president's sales pitch was that we're all in this together when it comes to battling terrorism. So, how did this message go over, especially after all he has said about Islam in the past? NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, they've got
common values and through that they can seek and find common security, security from the United States and security in the region here. You know, that was a very ornate conference and you could see around the room that Saudi princes, you can see presidents and kings and prime ministers from all those 55 other countries, but what you couldn't see in that was any sort of consternation on any one's face. But there was some push back on the president's message later in the evening at an event where the president was expected to speak, one of the speakers before him, the Emirati firm and it's that influential man in the region said that you can't point the finger of blame at the Middle East entirely for extremism.
He said Europe, Europe holds responsibility that there is -- there are extremists in Europe and the Europeans need to address that issue because otherwise all the extremists won't be coming from the Middle East, you'll have them coming from Europe. So, he wasn't specifically saying the United States needs to look at its self but the idea underlying President Trump's visit here from the Saudis at least was that this would be that historic reset in relations between the West and the Arab Muslim world.
So, to a degree, what the Emirati foreign minster had to say, an influential man in the region, again, I reiterate that because that was important. He was pushing back on that. It's not us alone here. You've got a problem as well. That's what he was saying.
CABRERA: Interesting to hear that there's a little bit of deflection and not necessarily owning it by the people in that region, the influential people as you say. Nic, the president, though, has been treated like a king and if they're trying to do a reset perhaps, you know, they're trying to start on their best foot forward since he's been there in Saudi Arabia. But is there a danger perhaps in putting too much stock into that, that flattery?
ROBERTSON: You know, there isn't a way perhaps for the president. You know, we know that that's a danger for him because of what's happened at the White House because he was entertaining the Oval Office the Russian minister and the Russian ambassador. You know, his candor in that meeting. Apparently, he overstepped, if you will, that certainly the assessment and the understanding.
And so, there was always that risk here, that the flattery that he could get here into the Middle East, because they do like to treat you like a king, and they certainly wanted to roll out the red carpet, there was always that possibility in telling him he was the man coming to the region to do that reset, that that was going -- if you will, perhaps prompt him to reach too far. And I think some of the things he said, he indicated that this was the place, this was the time for that reset. So, there was that danger.
CABRERA: All right. Nic Robertson in Saudi Arabia tonight, thank you.
[18:05:00] Joining us now, Washington bureau chief for "The Chicago Sun Times", Lynn Sweet, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News, Errol Louis, and beside him, CNN global affairs analyst and online news director for "The New Yorker", David Rohde.
Errol, I want to start with you. How did today's speech go over when it comes to Trump showing up as a world leader versus the president whose administration is under investigation?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, certainly, a player on the world stage, no notable gaps, certainly not the one that you were listening for. Some explanation. He used the phrase principled realism that was not really used on the campaign trail but sort of ties together some of the different elements of foreign policy that he's been gradually cobbling together. There were, of course, some words that were not said and will be a big disappointment to a lot of people -- words like democracy, words like human rights, words like freedom which were the basis of George W. Bush's foreign policy in some respect.
So, now, we've got principled realism. It seemed to be a very top down discussion in which he said the number one concern is terrorism. Not human rights, not democracy, not rule of law and he in some ways is giving away some important tools that would help him advance his actual goals --
CABRERA: In what way is he giving away important tools?
LOUIS: Well, I mean, look, the reality is as he said, half of the Islamic world, the Muslim world is under 20 years old, these young people. They have aspirations. Their aspirations are not simply to not be killed by ISIS, that's a pretty low bar.
They have aspirations to sort of not just live with dignity but to flourish, to thrive, to maybe not live under the crushing yoke of places like, frankly, the Saudi monarchy and to the extent that he's not going to engage at that level, you know, it sort of leaves more openings not for the terrorists but for sort of other players to sort of offer them a different look at the world and the United States a position of leadership starts to fade away.
CABRERA: Guys, I want to take a look at the president's approval rating. Lynn, it's very low right now, in a difficult moment. Take a look. This is the Monmouth poll found 39 percent approval, 53 percent disapproval.
When you heard his speech today, who do you think he was playing to when he abandoned his hard line rhetoric?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Well, this wasn't the speech designed I believe to deal with his base who's been with him and will probably not consider this a big error that he didn't deliver a fiery speech that is consistent. Remember, the base vote for Donald Trump has been rewarding his inconsistency throughout. I don't see any reason why this would defer.
So, when you ask who was he really talking to, I do think he was making his debut on the world stage and I think he did -- must have listened to either counsel or found something within himself to realize you could not go there at this Islamic meeting of leaders and start talking about Islamic terrorists in the way he did during the campaign. Whether or not this really means what in policy will know more especially when he gets to Israel. We'll really know what his policies are going forward when it deals with the Palestinian authority, which is still a linchpin to everything else in the Midwest.
CABRERA: David, the reason we keep talking about that term or those words "radical Islamic terrorism" is because the president hammered those words on the campaign trail and over and over again criticized the previous administration for not using those words. He argued at the time that they were crucial for fighting ISIS, to call a spade a spade in his words.
Do you think that the people in that region, this room he addressed of leaders are able to look beyond what he had said on the campaign and just chalk it up to him as a candidate versus now him as a president?
DAVID ROHDE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think the people in that room can chalk it up. He actually and he literally said, if you can't say those three words, you do not deserve to lead the United States. Guess what? You know, President Trump didn't say those three words today. Well, what matters isn't the people in those rooms, those are sort of regents and rulers --
CABRERA: They're the elitist.
ROHDE: They're the elite. What does the average person, you know, believe? Do they believe candidate Trump or President Trump?
It's the average Iraqis who are fighting and dying today in Mosul and taking that city back from ISIS that matters. It's the various people fighting ISIS in Syria. They matter.
So, as a young man, you know, a young Arab, a young Muslim willing to go fight and die against ISIS, you know, in support of Donald Trump and do they believe this new rhetoric or not that to me is the broad question, it's about average people in the region. These rulers can, you know, laud him. It's the street that matters.
CABRERA: I want to push forward to his next stop and another hot bed area where complicated situation, he'll have to use some nuance and tact in dealing with the Israeli/Palestine conflict and he's seeking to bring peace to the region.
Here is a campaign promise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[18:10:04] TRUMP: We will move the American embassy to the eternal capital of the Jewish people Jerusalem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Errol, what are the potential land mines for this president as he goes into this area? LOUIS: Well, first as a direct response to that promise, no, he
won't. They're not going to move the capital to Jerusalem. They're not going to do it any time soon. It's really been dropped even as a sort of an aspiration and that in part I think sort of some realism. Apparently, he met with the king of Jordan and was told if you want to inflame 1.8 billion Muslims, that would be a pretty good way to get off -- to a really bad start.
The second thing, however, I think is that for the president, he wants to sort of have some level of continuity, right? Even as just a negotiator, even if he thinks he can do it better than everyone who came before him, you don't just come in and just short of shuffle the cards and put out an entirely new deck. He's got people who would then --
CABRERA: Especially as an outsider to the region. He's not living there.
LOUIS: Exactly. And he must know as a negotiator, that the status of Jerusalem is one of the key bargaining points. You don't just simply give that away before you sit down to your negotiations. So, the final status of it, whether it's an international capital, whether it's shared, whether it's security arrangements and whose going to control the security arrangements, all of that has to be done and it's not simply a problem. It's also sort of a carrot, as well as a stick that could be offered to either side.
So, he's going in I think on sort of a good note, a good possible note by not doing that one particular bad thing that could really screw up everything and, of course, he's now, you know, going to encounter what all of his predecessors have, which is ancient disputes - that really haven't -- the contours of which have not really changed.
CABRERA: And, of course, all these leaders who he's meeting with have also their own objectives in mind and they want to try to tactfully negotiate with the president of the United States. I think it's interesting what Peter Baker of the "The New York Times" had as far as advice for these leaders who are meeting Trump. I want to read you what he writes.
He says: Keep it short. No 30 minute monologue for a 30-second attention span. Do not assume he knows the history of the country. Compliment him on his Electoral College victory. Contrast him favorably with the President Barack Obama.
And it really actually seems to happen today with the Egyptian president. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABDEL FATTAH AL-SISI, EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Mr. President, let me express our appreciation and respect. And let me say that you have a unique personality that is capable of doing the impossible.
TRUMP: Thank you. I agree. (LAUGHTER)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: He complimented his personality there, Lynn. Your take?
SWEET: Well, my take is, it's going to be a lot harder in Israel than these leaders who went in knowing that it would be better to be scripted, keep it short, because they didn't know him, he didn't know them. So, you go to Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu is a known figure. His son in law Kushner is a known figure, the Israeli press is aggressive. They're -- they get their own scoops and leaks that will also possibly shape the conversation and he's not going to be treated like royally.
That's not how Israel works. That's now how the West Bank works. It's very down to earth territory he's going into, and people know that leaders in the world have tried for decades to forge peace in the Middle East and if he goes in and thinks he can do something in a few days there, that will be Israel's the land of -- so maybe this will be one more.
But, you -- you know, all these instructions and Peter wrote a good piece about keeping it short and simple and whatever.
SWEET: I think if there's a place to go off script, this is where it could happen.
One other quick thing to look for I think even domestically is how much time he spends in Yad Vashem and what he says when he leaves.
CABRERA: David, I want to get your advice and your take as far as advice to the president as he enters this next stage.
ROHDE: I think it's not to raise expectations. I -- you know, what he did in Riyadh was really, we'll sell you lots of weapons and sort of look the other way if you want to repress your people. That's crude, but I do think that was the message. And then he's coming in Israel, he's talking about having a more kind of -- more involvement from other Arab countries, having a regional role, President Bush tried that, President Obama tried that. I don't see much new in what he's trying to achieve.
So, he should tone down what he hopes to achieve in this trip, particularly in Jerusalem.
CABRERA: Is there something he could do differently that could be perhaps --
ROHDE: No, to be fair to President Trump, combating ISIS, ending extremism, creating an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord is incredibly difficult. If anything, he was wrong to say it would be easy on the campaign trail. He promised the moon on the campaign trail. He's now seeing how hard it is to solve all these problems outside the U.S. and inside the U.S.
CABRERA: David, Errol and Lynn, thank you all for the great discussion.
Coming up: caught on camera, the moment a sea lion grabbed this girl off a dock and pulled her into the water. We have much more of the video plus what the manager of that harbor says what went wrong here in a CNN NEWSROOM.
[18:19:15] CABRERA: Welcome back. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm Ana Cabrera. And we're just getting our hands on some shocking video. We just can't stop talking about it here.
A sea lion was attracting quite a bit of attention from tourists at a wharf in Canada but watch what happened to one little girl as she sat on the edge of a dock.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
CABRERA: Let's play that again. A pretty good scare there. You saw what appears to be a family member jumping in to the water to save this girl right after the sea lion pulls her by the dress, right into the water.
[18:20:03] Thankfully, we're learning nobody was hurt.
Last hour, I spoke to the man who runs the harbor where this happened and he told us this could have been avoided.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB BAZIUK, GM, STEVESTEN HARBOUR AUTHORITY (via telephone): It's what happens when you feed wild animals. It appears that these tourists, I don't have any information on who they were, they appear to be tourists, and they were feeding the wildlife per se, and for years we have had signs, we have been in the local papers going -- don't do this. It's not a good idea, and it appears that the California sea lion who I believe were in their migratory cycle, a couple of the bowls or whatever they come in and they're looking for handouts. And when you hand it to them that's unfortunately what can happen and first and foremost, we're just glad that it appears the little girl wasn't hurt.
NAVARRO: Absolutely. We see as we watch the video and continue to play it for our video, the person who's with her is able to get her quickly out of the water. But have you ever seen an aggressive action by sea lions in this area?
BAZIUK: No, I have never witnessed anything like that in all my years of working at that harbor which is 27 years, but I can tell you that it's come close, and that is from people that disregard signs, that think it's cute to come and feed a 1,200 pound bull seal and it's -- it's not surprising to me.
And so, with the media coverage on this, I'm thinking, what a better way to get it through people's heads, don't feed wildlife. It's just not a good idea. What surprised me when I watched the video as per many people that have watched it is, the seal takes a snip at the little girl and then they proceed to let her sit on the bull rail. So, that is kind of not wise in my opinion.
Bull seals don't read signs and it's not marine world. It's a public --
BAZIUK: -- but where the public comes to buy their products, so to go down there and feed them is just asinine.
CABRERA: Do you think the sea lion's behavior is a reflection of play or is it more aggressive?
BAZIUK: Hunger. It's hunger.
BAZIUK: If they're aggressive. I don't know. I'm not a sea lion expert, but in this case, that's what they're doing. They're coming and they're looking for handouts from the public or if there's a fishermen that isn't wise enough to throw a by-product off their boat. They're hungry. And that's all there is to it.
CABRERA: Are you planning to take any steps to prevent it from happening again?
BAZIUK: I'm sorry?
CABRERA: Are you planning to take any steps of prevention so it won't happen again?
BAZIUK: Well, I mean we can plaster signs and whatever else, but it's the common sense of the public and the people that go down there not to do that. This movie is a poster child of what not to do when you're dealing with wild animals be themes seals or grizzly bears or cougars or whatever else. So, it's -- that's all you can really do. The rest is up to the people that utilize the facility, and you can't legislate stupidity if I may.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Amazing video. Glad she's OK.
Coming up, the president describes Mike Pence has his loyal right hand man, but is the vice president kept in the loop on every important matter? Why there are question about what he knew and when regarding Michael Flynn and Russia?
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:27:53] CABRERA: What did Vice President Pence know and when? Those questions are swirling around reports this weekend that Russian officials bragged during the campaign that they could use retired General Michael Flynn to influence then-candidate Donald Trump.
CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Flynn.
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight, the latest bombshell involving former national security adviser Michael Flynn is raising questions about what Vice President Mike Pence and when he knew it.
"The New York Times" reporting Flynn told President Trump's transition team more than two weeks before the inauguration that he was under investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkish interests during the campaign.
Pence led the Trump transition effort, but said the first time he learned of Flynn's ties to Turkey was in March, when the retired general registered with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent -- a move that seemed to surprise the vice president at the time.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, let me say, hearing that story today was the first I heard of it, and I fully support the decision that President Trump made to ask for General Flynn's resignation.
JONES: A Pence aide telling CNN today: The vice president stands by his comments in March upon first hearing the news regarding General Flynn's ties to Turkey, and fully supports the president's decision to ask for General Flynn's resignation.
That, despite the vice president also receiving a warning about Flynn's foreign ties in a letter last November from Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I sent him a very lengthy letter warning him of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In November.
JONES: The letter detailed Flynn's lobbying work for a Turkish firm and the payment he received for a speech in Moscow that was, quote, highly critical of the United States.
During the height of the presidential campaign, Flynn's consulting firm was paid more than a half million dollars by a Turkish owned company.
Cummings says Pence later told him he had no recollection of receiving the document.
CUMMINGS: When I asked him about it later on, he said that, you know, he was just in a fog, and he doesn't remember getting it.
JONES: Adding of Flynn --
[18:30:00] CUMMINGS: The thing that I do find very interesting is how he had told people in the White House about the fact that he was being investigated. I mean, come on, now. At some point you say, duh?
JONES: Pence, who has often acted as a Trump translator dating back to the campaign --
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald Trump is a good man.
JONES: -- is facing a growing credibility problem. Just last week, when he was dispatched to Capitol Hill after the sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey, Pence repeated the White House line seven times, stating that the decision to fire Comey was based on a recommendation from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
PENCE: He provided strong leadership and to act on the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General.
JONES: Only to be contradicted by the President hours later.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was going to fire Comey, my decision. I was going to fire regardless.
JONES: And after reports surfaced that Flynn discussed sanctions with Russia's Ambassador during the transition, the Vice President dismissed4 them.
PENCE: What I can confirm, having spoken to him about it, is that those conversations that happened to occur around the time that the United States took action to expel diplomats had nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.
JONES: A move that ultimately cost the national security adviser his job.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks to our White House Correspondent Athena Jones. Let's talk more about this with CNN's national security analyst and former assistant secretary of Homeland Security, Juliette Kayyem.
Juliette, in your view, how is the Vice President's credibility holding up in the wake of all these new bombshells this past week?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, he's part of the White House, so this idea that he can have this separate existence from all the stuff going on in the Trump White House related to Mike Flynn, related to the investigation, I think is just inconceivable and unsustainable.
He will be impacted by it, unless he's willing to sort of historically separate himself from a first-term sitting president. We've seen vice presidents do that later in the second term but never this early on. So I think he's stuck with whatever narrative the Trump White House comes up with, but I think it's slightly worse for Mike Pence and that's because he did run the transition.
I, for one, have to be honest with you. I'm getting sort of tired of people saying, well, they were new and it was confusing and they didn't think they were going to win. You know, anyone who knew Mike Flynn, if you did a Google search of him, would certainly have known of his past.
And so at some stage, Mike Pence has to take responsibility for a transition that not only brought Mike Flynn in but that clearly has had consequences in terms of, for example, the fact we have no deputy secretaries at any of the agencies. So I think he's stuck. And, you know, I mean, he sort of knew what he was getting in to, but it would be very hard for him to separate himself at this stage.
CABRERA: Let me ask you about the upcoming testimony on Tuesday with former director of the CIA, John Brennan. He's going to testify before the House Intel Committee. What insight might he bring?
KAYYEM: So John Brennan -- this is important in terms of the biography, is very similar to Jim Clapper -- has served Republican and Democratic presidents and has served as a sort of unknown figure.
He became more public in the Obama administration and was certainly part of the CIA's review, as head of the CIA, of what Russia was doing during the elections. He, of all the figures, is one we haven't heard from much, except, remember, when President-elect Trump was going after the intelligence community and really denigrating the CIA, John Brennan sort of came to their defense. S
o he will probably bring us up to speed in terms of the investigation, January 20th, but I highly doubt that he will give us any sort of information regarding the present investigations either that Comey was leading or now that Mueller is leading. So I think it will be more historic than any sort of bombshells. And to be honest, he wouldn't be able to disclose much, given that a lot of that stuff is still classified.
CABRERA: But we do know it's going to be an open and then a closed hearing. So you're saying the public won't hear too much of the nitty gritty info.
CABRERA: But I'm curious if he might be able to fill in some of the time line in terms of who in the Russian camp they may have been trying to listen to. And would he be the person to talk a little bit about those intercepts?
KAYYEM: Yes, he would. And he would know -- certainly in the classified briefing, the sources and methods may come up -- how did they know that the Russians did it? Remember, the public documents we have seen have been a little bit weak on sources and methods. They sort of come to a conclusion that it was Russia. I recognize that. I'm sympathetic to it. So he will be able to brief Congress on the sources and methods.
I will say though, I appreciate these public hearings, as someone who's now outside of government. I think it's important for the American public to know the extent to which the Russians really did focus their efforts during the campaign, whether it was through WikiLeaks or through, you know, a fake news or whatever it was, to undermine the campaign.
[18:35:09] And I think it's important for the American public to remember, in the end, this is what it's about. You know, whatever Trump did, whatever criminal investigation is going on, in the end, it's about protect our democratic institution.
CABRERA: Well, to some degree, it raises our awareness, too, about fake news online with all the social media that we use today. As part of this Russian probe, we're also hearing a new name that's entered the picture.
The House Intel Committee contacted Michael Caputo. He was a Trump campaign communications adviser. And they've asked him to voluntarily turn over some specific documents by Monday. What does this development tell you about the investigation?
KAYYEM: So what I can tell from the investigation, and this is just my analysis of it, is that the White House would have hoped that this investigation would get narrower. In other words, there's a series of investigations going on, where they're leading, who they're focusing on, would occur overtime and ultimately hope, for the White House, close.
What has clearly happened in the last 10 or 11 days is the investigation has expanded. We have reports -- and CNN has reported about the expansion of those investigations -- they are now going to include obstruction of justice, as well as new people who, we in the public, had not heard of, who may have come up through wiretaps or -- remember, people are getting interviewed so the FBI is learning new names through those interviews.
So he's going to be one of many names that we haven't heard of yet. And I think that's why people are talking about White House staff getting lawyers at this stage because you just don't know who might be implicated in some this investigation.
CABRERA: Juliette Kayyem, our thanks to you.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
CABRERA: Coming up. North Korea launches another ballistic missile, the second in a week and the 10th this year. Is the country getting closer to its goal of threatening the U.S. mainland? We'll go live to the region next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [18:41:04] CABRERA: Tensions are high once again in the Asia-Pacific region after North Korea fired off yet another missile, a second missile within a week just days before the start of the G7 Summit in Italy. Remember, last Sunday, we were reporting this right here on CNN, North Korea launched a missile that analysts have now called the country's most successful test ever.
Well, here's what we're learning about today's launch. Japan's Defense Minister says this was a medium range ballistic missile. It traveled about 620 miles high and then 300 miles to the east before landing in the Sea of Japan. I want to bring in Alexandra Field, joining us now from Seoul, South Korea.
Alexandra, how are the nations in that region now reacting to this latest missile launch?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, the condemnations are coming in quickly, Ana. But, first, North Korea is touting its success. They call this a successful launch of a medium range missile that was overseen by their dictator, Kim Jong-un, personally. He now believes, according to state news in North Korea, that this missile is ready for action.
That's the word coming out of North Korea this morning, but South Korea and Japan have been quick to condemn the actions from Pyongyang. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling the launch of another ballistic missile, which travelled into the waters off of the Korean Peninsula, totally unacceptable.
Meetings of the national security council were convened in both Japan and South Korea. South Korea's Foreign Ministry putting it this way, they are saying, this repeated provocation is a reckless and irresponsible behavior like pouring cold water on the wishes of our new government and the international community for denuclearization and peace to prevail on the Korean Peninsula.
And when they talk about their new government in that statement, Ana, of course, they are referring to the fact that South Korea elected a new president just under two weeks ago, and now North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles in the first two weeks that President Moon Jae-in has been in office.
They've launched nearly a dozen ballistic missiles, Ana, since President Trump took office, showing that they cannot be cowed by the sanctions that had been levied against them, by the threats of greater sanctions that have also been levied. It was just a few days ago that the United Nation Security Council met to talk about the possibility of further sanctions in light of the test that happened a week ago. And now we understand the U.N. Security Council will meet again to discuss the latest test, Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Alexandra Field, live in Seoul, thank you for the update. Coming up, "SNL" signs off for the season with a sing along good-bye from Team Trump.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[18:47:46] TRUMP: Just imagine what tomorrow could bring. Glorious wonders of science, art, medicine, and commerce to inspire mankind. Great cities built on the ruins of shattered towns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: No, your eyes weren't deceiving you. It looks like a weekend full of deal making and dancing, maybe, caught up with President Trump's Secretary of Commerce. I want to play that video again. Take a close look here.
See the guy highlighted. That is 79-year-old Wilbur Ross caught napping during the President's big speech in Saudi Arabia earlier today. Now, in his defense, he was up pretty late. He was smiling, even dancing with the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during last night's welcome ceremony. They're doing this traditional sword dance, again, in Saudi Arabia.
Let's discuss with CNN.com contributor and host of "The Dean Obeidallah Show" on SiriusXM, Dean Obeidallah. Dean, I just want to get your reaction to that video.
DEAN OBEIDALLAH, SIRIUSXM HOST: Well, you know, that sword dancing takes a lot out of you, apparently. Look, I mean, it's a long speech. In his defense, there's jet lag involved.
I've been to the Middle East many times myself. First couple of days are very hard, but it's not great when your boss is giving a speech and you fall asleep and they see it on camera.
CABRERA: The President wasn't as animated as we see him often times in his big speeches.
OBEIDALLAH: It was a low-key speech probably because, you know, there was translation going on, and I don't think he wanted to ad lib on this speech and stick to every word very carefully. That's part of it. But it's still embarrassing when your boss is giving a big speech and you fall asleep.
CABRERA: You did not fall asleep. You tell me.
CABRERA: You were watching closely. I know you are Muslim.
OBEIDALLAH: I am.
CABRERA: You have been very critical of the President, his rhetoric on the campaign.
OBEIDALLAH: Oh, yes.
CABRERA: Did the words he said today resonate with you in a positive way? OBEIDALLAH: The speech wasn't for the American Muslim community. I
mean, I'll be blunt. Having Donald Trump give a speech to Muslims is like having Mel Gibson give a speech to Jews. I mean, it's ridiculous to us.
And I think it's even worse in the case of Donald Trump who demonized my community from a short time into this campaign. Islam haters are saying things like they got thousands of Muslims chewed on 9/11, which even Rudy Giuliani said was not accurate, to the Muslim ban and on and on, ginning up fear.
That speech was for the Middle East. That was to tell the Saudis, we're with you in containing and potentially fighting against Iran. And in return, you get $110 billion arms deal, that the Saudis are buying arms from us. That was not --
[18:50:03] CABRERA: So you're saying it fell on deaf ears as far as you're concerned?
OBEIDALLAH: Look, Donald Trump has said, America first. That's he's slogan. He should have started in America with the American Muslim community. After he won, came over and spoken to us, even apologized for the hateful stuff he said about us. He could say, look, I've learned, I was wrong. Maybe we move forward.
And so this speech was not for the American Muslim community. It was for the Gulf nations. It was for the Saudis, specifically. It really wasn't for South Asian Muslims. It was really for that little region there, the arms deal, and the idea, we're going to be with you against Iran because you heard the king of Saudi, before introducing him, talked about Iran as well, the need to contain Iran. So it's all about Iran.
CABRERA: And the President did talk about Iran as well.
CABRERA: OK, let's switch gears and talk about "SNL."
CABRERA: Because that's why we really wanted to bring you on, given your history with the show. You were part of the crew for eight years. We've talked about this show, and last night was the big grand finale.
We had The Rock Johnson hosting. The Rock Johnson, I don't know if that --
OBEIDALLAH: What are you -- The Rock or Dwayne, whatever you want.
CABRERA: -- as Dwayne Rock. I know, The Rock.
OBEIDALLAH: He's The Rock. CABRERA: He signed off with a hint he might run for president in
2020. Let's watch the skit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DWAYNE JOHNSON, ACTOR: I have already chosen my running mate. He's also in the five timers club.
JOHNSON: And like me, he's very well liked. He's charming. Universally adored by pretty much every human alive.
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Dwayne, I would be honored to --
JOHNSON: Mr. Tom Hanks, ladies and gents.
TOM HANKS, ACTOR: I guess we got to do it. Come on.
HANKS: Let's go. We're doing it.
JOHNSON: We're doing it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Do you think that was just pure fun, or is there a little hint there for a reality?
OBEIDALLAH: Look, he's having fun, he's having a good time. There was a poll that showed a lot of Americans would support him. There were some moments that were very earnest in that monologue where he shifted gears and was sort of like -- he joked about it. Like, I didn't know I was qualified, but now I think I might be overqualified, sort of like a slight dig at Donald Trump.
You know, maybe The Rock could run for president. Ronald Reagan ran. He was an actor. Of course, he was governor of California before he ran for president. But I think Donald Trump has inspired people who never thought of running before to want to run.
And I think celebrities like that with name recognition, very well liked. He's so well liked. I'm not sure what his positions are, he could run and be a credible candidate at this point, to be quite honest.
CABRERA: And he's got popularity.
OBEIDALLAH: Exactly. He's got name.
CABRERA: He's got a lot of people who might vote for him just on that alone. Last night, again, being the finale, I know you checked the overnight ratings. OBEIDALLAH: It did great.
CABRERA: And it was huge. In Trump's word, huge.
CABRERA: Huge. I want to play the end when the crew sang "Hallelujah," in case you missed it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Do you think Alec Baldwin will return after this season?
OBEIDALLAH: Well, he said a couple months ago, and I wrote an article, that he said he was thinking of not returning. But two weeks ago, he said, if it fits my schedule, I will.
Everyone was there. The only person missing was Melissa McCarthy. I'm sure she had something else, but it was a great way to go out. They're singing "Hallelujah." I bet Donald Trump is singing, hallelujah, "SNL" is off for a few months because they've gotten under his skin.
I wrote an article for CNN, it's up now, about how "SNL" effectively trolled Donald Trump this year where he lashed out on Twitter against them. So I think Trump is happy, but he shouldn't get too happy. They're doing special primetime "SNLs" in August. Weekend update specials, four of them, in August, so it's not the usual four or five months off. In August, "SNL" will be back during weekend.
CABRERA: All right.
OBEIDALLAH: And the awesome characters will be involved with it.
CABRERA: Something to look forward to and to anxiously await. Dean Obeidallah, thank you, as always.
OBEIDALLAH: Thank you.
[18:53:24] CABRERA: Coming up. How is Wall Street handling all the turmoil in the Trump White House? Your "Before the Bell," next in the CNN NEWSROOM.
CABRERA: While much of the focus right now is on the President's trip overseas as well as the Russia probe, investors back at home are wondering what exactly is happening with his economic plan?
CNN's Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans brings us today's "Before the Bell." Christine. CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Ana, as the
President embarks on his first overseas trip this week, the focus will be back home on his economic agenda and just how much progress is being made.
It was the first dent in that confidence about the Trump economic agenda that really shook Wall Street last week on Wednesday. The Dow suffered its biggest one-day loss of the year amid White House turmoil. Investors finally seeming to react to a constant drum beat of bombshell reports, but the major averages rebounded.
The big question for investors, has the Trump economic agenda stalled? Remember, stocks rallied after the election on hopes for tax reform, less regulation, and a boost in infrastructure spending. If those initiatives get stalled in Congress by a White House and political parties consumed with investigations, that could derail progress on those economic fronts.
In the meantime, you can expect a return to what is called volatility on Wall Street. Last week, Wall Street's so-called fear gauge spiked sharply, but analysts say a return to volatility doesn't have to always be a bad thing. After all, it can remind mom and pop investors that stocks are risky. They don't always go straight up or straight down. As always, know your tolerance for risk and diversify, Ana.
CABRERA: All right. Christine, thank you.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for joining me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with us.
[18:59:53] We begin this hour with President Trump debuting his new message to Muslims worldwide. The man who campaigned heavily on a proposed Muslim ban, today asking Islamic leaders in the Middle East to unite with America in the global fight against terrorism.