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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Obama Visits Hiroshima, Calls for Nuclear-Free World; Holiday Weekend Travel; Baylor Removes Ken Starr As President Amid Sexual Assault Scandal. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired May 27, 2016 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JENNIFER GRAY, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, they are actually forecasting a normal season, which you may think it's not a big deal but we've had below normal seasons the past couple of years. You have to look back to 2012 to find a season that was at normal or above.
[16:30:05] So the national, NOAA is forecasting 10 to 16 named storms, four to eight hurricanes, one to four of those becoming major.
And keep in mind, this is going to be the second storm of the season. We had Alex already in January -- Jim.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Jennifer Gray in the CNN Weather Center -- thanks very much.
In other world news, President Obama on an emotional visit to a place that no other U.S. president has ever been, facing survivors in Hiroshima. That's right after this.
SCIUTTO: In our world lead, President Obama making history today. He became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Japanese city of Hiroshima where a U.S. atomic bomb killed nearly 140,000 people at the end of World War II in 1945.
[16:35:08] Along with the bomb dropped on Nagasaki three days later, they remained the only ones that used nuclear weapons in a war in history. After laying a wreath at the site, President Obama expressed his condolences to the people of Hiroshima, calling for a world without nuclear weapons.
I want to bring in CNN White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski. She is live from Hiroshima.
Michelle, President Obama making a lot of historic this week, first visiting Vietnam and now becoming the first president to visit Hiroshima, one of the seven decades after the bombing. Is this a legacy building trip for him?
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Of course, yes, of course, he wants to work on as much as he can. He's been working on denuclearization for a long time, building these relationships out here. And now, here in Hiroshima, I mean, it's tough to imagine that where
we are standing right now, 71 years ago was just obliterated, a scale of destruction that the world hadn't seen at the hands of human beings before or since. So, the Japanese people have waited a long time for a presidential visit like this and many who heard President Obama's words this morning said that they cried. This wasn't a policy speech. It wasn't an apology.
And he wasn't speaking specifically to Americans or to the Japanese. He wanted to speak to humanity.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): Absolute silence as President Obama walked where no sitting American president has -- in the shadow of the one building remaining when a nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima before the faces now elderly that survived.
The president addressed August 6th, 1945.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Seventy-one years ago, on a bright, cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed. A flash of light and a wall of fire destroyed a city. We come to mourn the dead.
KOSINSKI: More than 100,000 of them. Pictures from that time seem unfathomable.
OBAMA: Mere words cannot give words to such suffering. But we have a shared responsibility to look directly into the eye of history and ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again.
KOSINSKI: The White House found it inappropriate to apologize or second-guess the decision made by President Truman. But President Obama expressed his desire to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, calling on humanity to do better.
OBAMA: We must change our mindset about war itself. Among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear. And pursue a world without them.
KOSINSKI: He also paid tribute to the human kindness borne from suffering, hugging survivor Shigeaki Mori who set aside his anger and worked tirelessly for 40 years to gain official recognition for the 12 American prisoners of war who also died in the blast, tracking down their families.
Survivor Akira Pondo (ph) said of the president's visit, it took 71 years. It could have happened earlier.
From Motogo Onowi (ph), I'm very happy. Today, he's putting his words into practice.
They were all children then, now focused on those who will come after them. OBAMA: That is the future we can choose. A future in which Hiroshima
and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare but as the start of our own moral awakening.
KOSINSKI: On the minds of Japanese people now, the American election. And they asked, did Donald Trump really support nuclear proliferation? You know, he said that Japan and South Korea might want to get nuclear weapons. And they wondered can denuclearization ever really happen when the threat of North Korea looms so large? Jim?
SCIUTTO: Michelle Kosinski, powerful moment, powerful place -- thanks very much.
Let's discuss more about the significant of President Obama's visit. I want to bring in Jamie Metzl. He's a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, formerly with the State Department under Bill Clinton.
Thanks very much, Jaime.
I wonder, just to begin -- yes, it's been 71 years, but how powerful this still in the Japanese mind.
JAMIE METZL, SR. FELLOW, ATLANTIC COUNCIL: This is the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki are formative moments of modern Japan, old Imperial Japan died at that moment, or maybe one week later after Nagasaki with this surrender. But then something really incredible blossom from those ashes, and that's a Japan that's been incredibly peaceful for 71 years. It's been a major contributor to global peace and security and stability.
[16:40:05] So, emotionally, for the president of the United States to go there and to do it in such a meaningful and such a respectful way, I think it's very, very significant for Japan and also for the United States.
SCIUTTO: Now, President Obama did not make a formal apology. His presence is certainly symbolic. What's the importance of that difference, stopping short of an apology?
METZL: I think people in the United States, myself included, would have been uncomfortable with an apology because we know what went into that very painful decision that President Truman made in 1945. The war would have gone on for much longer and there was terrible destruction until that time. So, it wouldn't be appropriate to make an apology. But that doesn't mean that many people, many innocent people didn't die in the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and in the war more generally.
And after 71 years and with the very meaningful relationship between the United States and Japan and with what Hiroshima has come to represent to the world, I think it was fitting and appropriate for President Obama to visit.
SCIUTTO: Now, outside of Japan, elsewhere in Asia, particularly China and South Korea, who suffered horribly under the Japanese during the war, they were not so happy about this visit.
METZL: They weren't. And I think it's a little bit different in each country. Korea suffered terribly under Japan, first as part of the Japanese colonial empire and then during the war and many, many, tens of thousands of Koreans were killed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and there is a very heartfelt and very emotional response in Korea. Basically, everything happened to do with Japan, and certainly including this.
Japan also suffered terribly under the Japanese but -- I'm sorry. China --
METZL: -- suffered terribly under the Japanese. Absolutely terrible.
But China has politicized this history in such a fundamental way so that when China is criticizing Japan now and not mentioning anything about, for example, Mao's murder of more than 50 million people during the great leap forward, there's an element of sincerity perceived in many parts of the world.
SCIUTTO: Yes, no question. A lot of folks taking advantage of history for politics.
METZL: Yes, on all sides.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Jamie Metzl, thanks very much for putting it to context for us.
METZL: My pleasure.
SCIUTTO: In our money lead, some good and bad news if you're planning to travel this holiday weekend. That will be next.
Plus, Ken Starr of Clinton impeachment fame out as president of the Baylor University after the school failed to help victims of sexual assault.
[16:46:02] SCIUTTO: Welcome back. I'm going to take a guess here, a lot of you watching are probably doing some -- from a departure gate somewhere at the airport. Flights are cheap. Gas is cheap, which means Americans are on the move this holiday weekend.
You can't expect the airports and roadways to be slammed all summer long. CNN Money's Cristina Alesci is here in New York with me. So what's pushing more Americans to travel this year?
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's really the cost. Cost is driving a lot of this and it's couple with the factors to a certain extent. So gas prices are cheaper, people are feeling a little bit better about their employment prospects.
And, let's face it, everybody is sick of the staycation because we've done it for so long. But when it comes to road trips, if you look at the price of gas, yes, it's gone up compared to a month ago.
But historically speaking it's still about 50 cents cheaper than a year ago and if you look at the ten-year average for Memorial Day, we're still a dollar cheaper per gallon on an average basis, some places like California, that drop is even more dramatic.
But on an average basis, we are still in a pretty good level and all of this, of course, is driven by cheap oil, which is also making airfare less expensive, which is why you have such crowds at the airport.
You know, the flip side of all of this is that as people start to travel, the travel industry does begin to jack it is prices. So we are seeing hotel prices go up and even in some cases some airfare go up.
And, you know, consumers are feeling a little bit better even though the U.S. economy just today we learned that growth is still pretty anemic, less than 1 percent in the first quarter.
SCIUTTO: I've got to start checking airfares for the summer. Cristina Alesci, thanks very much.
Well, instead of driving, if you're one of the 2.5 million people opting to fly this Memorial Day weekend, brace yourself. Airports across the U.S. are preparing themselves for record crowds and you could experience longer than typically long wait times during this three-day weekend.
The TSA has been warning travelers to arrive at their airports up to three hours, not the typical two hours before their flight departs and that warning should not be taken lightly.
Because according to an American Airline official, more than 70,000 American passengers missed their flights this year because of those excessively long security lines.
I want to bring in CNN correspondent, Rosa Flores at Chicago O'Hare International Airport where nearly 2 million travelers will pass through this weekend. Rosa, how are things looking where you are?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, when you get to the airport, you never know what you're going to get. I want you to look at this video from earlier today because this is what people confronted when they walked through those doors, very long lines.
K9s going through those lines to make sure that passengers could get through quickly. But I want to show you what it looks like right now. Walk through these doors and you'll see the extent of the line at this hour.
Take a look right now we see a lot of blue tape. Not so much as many passengers as we saw earlier. So one of the big questions is why, why are these lines moving so quickly after this was the very terminal that made national headlines because 450 passengers were stranded and slept on cots. The TSA, you know, they sprang into action they had some changes. They added K9s and moved 100 part-time workers to full time.
[16:50:09]And they also tripled overtime. Now, one of the things that, of course, all of these passengers have in mind is what is it going to be like as I'm going through these lanes and as I'm going through the airport?
Well, O'Hare for the very first time got its report card. Take a look at this because I want to focus in on the wait times. You can see that wait times went from 105 to 42 minutes.
So Jim, when that wait was about 105, the hashtags that were used for O'Hare Airport was #ohate. We are not seeing any of those today because take a look it's smooth sailing here at O'Hare -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Two hours in that line, that would have been painful. Rosa Flores, thanks very much.
In our Sports Lead, a sobering warning from more than 100 prominent doctors, postpone or move the Olympics or risk dire consequences. That's next.
SCIUTTO: Welcome back. Our Sports Lead now. You might remember him as the man whose investigation into President Clinton's sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky helped get Mr. Clinton impeached.
Well, today, Ken Starr is out as president of Baylor University, demoted after a damning report about the way the nation's biggest Baptist University handled or rather completely and reprehensively mishandled multiple cases of sexual assault, especially those involving the football team.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is live for us on this story in Dallas. So, Ed, the fallout from this is probably just beginning, but what did report detail exactly regarding how the university handled sexual assault.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the full report hasn't been released essentially a summary of the findings in this report is what the Baylor University has released. The chairman of the Board of Regents said what he saw in there was shocking and outrageous.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How I feel about Baylor, it's -- like they failed me.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Stephanie Montank (ph) says that while Baylor University's internal report vindicates her and many more young women, she says it's now clear the prominent Baptist University shunned them after they reported being sexually assaulted. STEPHANIE MONTANK, VICTIM OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: The institutional crap, like, this is out of our hands, we can't do anything about it. The case is closed. Right? You know what I mean? If you really believed someone was raped, wouldn't you do something, right? Like especially with the high Christian standards they purport to have.
LAVANDERA: Montank says she was sexually assaulted by a Baylor student last march and after she tried reporting the attack, it went nowhere.
MONTANK: If you really truly believed someone was raped, wouldn't you do something urgently about it? Wouldn't you? Wouldn't you respond with urgency? That's the thing. We don't see urgency. We see, we'll coordinate this next week. We hope to meet with this witness in a week or two. I don't think they understand the weight that it has on us as survivors.
LAVANDERA: Baylor's Board of Regents says it was horrified by a fundamental failure of the institution to protect female students. The sexual assaults, which involved several football players, occurred in recent years as the Baylor football program emerged from decades of mediocrity to become a national contender under head coach, Art Briles. A massive new stadium was built on campus. Critics say the sexual assault investigations were covered up to protect the school's image.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Baylor knew and had prior knowledge of a huge problem with sexual assault on their campus, especially through the athletic program and they just did nothing. They did absolutely really nothing to protect these female students.
LAVANDERA: Head Football Coach Art Briles will be fired and Ken Starr, who investigated the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal was removed as president but kept as chancellor and a law school professor. Neither has responded to CNN's request for comment. In a telephone conference call with reporters, Baylor officials refused to say why Ken Starr wasn't fired outright.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't talk about individual people. It's just inappropriate to do that. And again, we just have higher expectations for people and their leadership.
LAVANDERA: Now Jim, what is interesting, Baylor University releasing a lot of the details in this internal investigation saying essentially they want to be transparent with the Baylor community and let them know what this investigation found out.
However, and we have asked, they never really detailed just how many cases of sexual assault, how many victims that they are talking about.
We've interviewed two of the sexual assault victims on campus but these reports don't say -- don't detail the extent to just how many people and how many people were either arrested or convicted of these sexual assaults on campus. SCIUTTO: Really just an awful story. Ed Lavandera, thank you much.
Turning now to our health lead, a serious warning coming from some of the most prominent doctors in the world. Postpone or move the 2016 Summer Olympics and that is because of the Zika virus.
The games are set to begin just 70 days from now in Rio de Janeiro, which is considered the epicenter of the Zika outbreak, a virus linked to an explosion in birth defects.
Some 150 doctors and scientists have written a letter to the World Health Organization saying they are worried about sending half a million people to Rio right now.
But just yesterday, CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden, said Zika is not a reason in his view to cancel the Olympics since the risk is not particularly high other than for pregnant women.
Make sure to catch Jake's exclusive interview with Senator Marco Rubio on Sunday. That's on "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9 a.m. and noon Eastern Time, but right now I turn you over to the very capable hands of Wolf Blitzer. He's, as always, in "THE SITUATION ROOM."