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[01:00:14] JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles.
Ahead this hour, top-secret sit-down. We're learning Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of State has met face-to-face with North Korea's Kim Jong-un.
Plus, could this be the day inspectors are finally allowed to the scene of a suspected chemical weapons attack? But could it be too late to find out what really happened in Douma in Syria?
And she was the wife of one American president, mother to another. We look back at the life of the former first lady Barbara Bush.
Hello, everybody. Great to have you with us. I'm John Vause. We're now into the second hour -- one more to go after this -- of NEWSROOM L.A.
Well, the United States and North Korea are apparently closer to a summit than most people thought. Sources confirm to CNN that CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong-un during a trip to North Korea over the Easter weekend.
An administration official says the North Korean leader was personable and well prepared. Donald Trump talked about the upcoming meeting at the start of two-day summit with Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've also started talking to North Korea directly. We have had direct talks at very high levels. Extremely high levels with North Korea.
And I really believe there's a lot of goodwill. A lot of good things are happening. We'll see what happens. As I always say, we'll see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN's Will Ripley live for us this hour in Hong Kong, and in San Francisco, Phil Yun, executive director of the Ploughshares Fund, a former adviser on North Korea to President Bill Clinton. Thank you for both joining us.
Will, I'll start with you. What's the background here? What more do you know about this trip by Mike Pompeo to North Korea and, in particular, the time he spent one-on-one with the North Korean leader?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they managed to keep this under wraps for several weeks, but this happened over the Easter weekend. A very busy weekend for Kim Jong-un when he was meeting with the IOC president, Thomas Bach, while attending a K-Pop performance in Pyongyang.
Those events were publicized. What was not publicized until now was this sit-down, this face-to-face, between Mike Pompeo, the CIA Director and Secretary of State nominee, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Now, a source of mine familiar with the discussion says that Kim Jong- un came into the room very prepared. He had a number of notes in front of him at the table. He was, as you mentioned, personable. He was -- he knew his -- he did his homework. He knew the subject material.
But at that meeting then, and continues to be now, the primary sticking point is finding a suitable venue for this potential summit in early June with President Trump.
The Americans are pushing for a neutral location. The Koreans are hoping to have the meeting closer to home, perhaps even on the demilitarized zone where that summit will happen next week between Moon Jae-in, the South Korean President, and Kim Jong-un.
VAUSE: Philip Yun, to you, when I heard this news that Pompeo actually went to Pyongyang, you know, I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. It was pretty gobsmacking. I just wonder what your reaction was.
And also to, you know, some of the details. That, you know, he went there without anyone from the White House, without anyone from the State Department, just a couple of intelligence officials.
PHILIP YUN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, PLOUGHSHARES FUND: Well, I was surprised as well, but I agree it is very good news. As I said before, prior to this, the only American that we know that has met Kim Jong-un had been Dennis Rodman.
And I think having Secretary of State Pompeo actually having the opportunity to sit down with Kim Jong-un and take a gauge of this individual and have an opportunity to talk with him, I think, is only good for us. If nothing else, we're going to get a sense of who he is.
And I suspect what Secretary of State-designate Pompeo is going to be doing is exploring a little bit, finding out what his bottom lines are and what his thinking is like.
So I think this is ultimately good news. It creates a set of momentum. But I'm also worried that it may create too-high expectations because we've got a long road to go on this, and it's going to take quite a while for us to figure out if there's going to be a solution here.
VAUSE: Phil, when this first came out, when this news emerged of Trump meeting with Kim Jong-un, there was kind of this expectation that it was all just a bit of a show. It was never going to happen. It was just done for the headlines. It's now looking a lot more serious.
YUN: It is. It is looking a lot more serious. The fact that the Secretary -- that Secretary of State-designate Pompeo went there makes it much more real.
You know that the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, when he has the summit, he wants the summit between Mr. Trump and Kim Jong-un to actually happen.
So he's going to be working very hard with Kim Jong-un or negotiating with Kim Jong-un to try to make sure that the whole notion of denuclearization -- which is a real sticking point, what does it mean? I think the North Koreans think of it more as a process. We look at it more as an end.
[01:05:00] That there is -- the South Korean President is going to make sure that there is something there that the two sides can actually agree to. So we'll have to see what happens.
YUN: President Trump basically said it may not happen, so we'll have to see you.
VAUSE: Yes, he kind of hedged his bet, but he's also taking a lot of credit for it on Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago.
VAUSE: I want you to listen to Mike Pompeo last week during his Senate confirmation hearing for Secretary of State. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, NOMINEE FOR UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm optimistic that the United States government can set the conditions for that appropriately so that the President and the North Korean leader could have that conversation. It will set us down the course of achieving a diplomatic outcome that America so desperately -- America and the world so desperately need.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So, Will, clearly, Mike Pompeo had some good reasons to be optimistic, a lot more than we knew at the time. But how optimistic, you know, is South Korea? How optimistic is Japan or China that there will be that same positive result here? RIPLEY: Well, South Korea certainly is very optimistic, perhaps too
optimistic depending on your viewpoint, because they want this to be a success. This is a progressive government in South Korea. Moon Jae- in was elected on the platform of making peace with North Korea.
He has devoted his whole career to that end, and so he wants this to be a success. And really, his meeting next week with Kim Jong-un, the primary focus here.
And what makes this summit next week different from previous inter- Korean summits is that it is going to set the tone. It's going to tee-up these talks with the United States that South Korea wants, very badly, to go through.
Japan, obviously much more cautious here. Shinzo Abe, who really hunkered down on being a North Korea hawk, which he thought was the view of the Trump administration until they did this U-turn, was kind of left sidelined, had a bit of an awkward meeting with Donald Trump. He is trying to save face coming out of this.
And China, of course, also doesn't want to be left on the sidelines. We've just confirmed that the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, who met with Kim Jong-un in what was essentially a courtesy call -- when that secret train rolled up in Beijing.
Well, now, Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, he is making his own plans to visit Pyongyang. Perhaps sometime in June, depending on the timing of the Trump summit. It could happen after the Trump summit or even before, if they continue to push the date back of the meeting between Kim Jong-un and President Trump.
So, clearly, China seeking to reaffirm its status as North Korea's patron, if you will.
Also, we've learned that Russia has reached out, requesting a summit with Kim Jong-un. But so far, the North Koreans have yet to respond.
So basically, right now, John, Kim Jong-un is the most popular one at the dance. Everybody's trying to get a turn. We'll see if that momentum can continue for him.
VAUSE: That airport in Pyongyang has never been so busy, it might be used for once.
I want you to listen to the praise that Donald Trump received from Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHINZO ABE, PRIME MINISTER OF JAPAN: And since the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, we have observed major change in terms of North Korea's behavior.
And background of this change is Donald's unwavering conviction, as well as the determination that you demonstrated in addressing the issue of North Korea. So your stance made it possible to achieve this major change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, Philip, Donald Trump has a weakness for a flattering word. We all know that. That notwithstanding though, is the Japanese Prime Minister right here? Does Trump deserve, you know, a lot of credit for this even getting started?
YUN: It's unclear, you know. I do think that there's some discussion here that Donald Trump's maximum pressure thing made Kim Jong-un blink a little bit and thought that he should come to the table because they were unsure of what Donald Trump's intentions were.
The other theory or combination is Kim Jong-un feels pretty confident about his nuclear deterrent, at least the ability to threaten that, and therefore thought he needed to come forward.
This is pretty consistent North Korean behavior where they have a lot of provocations. They escalate, de-escalate.
We have sort of media sort of frenzy over what's going on here. We talk about what's going on, and then suddenly Kim Jong-un does a pivot. And this whole peace thing is completely consistent with that.
I think both North -- South Korea and Japan have -- are being very diplomatic. I think they know Donald Trump likes praise. You know, there was a conversation where, you know -- you know, where he basically said, please, give me credit. Let people know that I was responsible for this.
And they obviously need the United States, so this is something they're going to do regardless.
VAUSE: OK, we --
YUN: So I'm not surprised about that.
VAUSE: OK. Here is the U.S. President talking again about agreement on the location for where these talks will be held.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have not picked a site yet, but we picked five sites where it's potentially going to be. We'll let you know fairly soon.
And let's see what happens. We'll either have a very good meeting, or we won't have a good meeting. And maybe won't even have a meeting at all, depending on what's going in. But I think that there's a great chance to solve a world problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: And, Philip, notably, the six-party talks all those years ago were held in China, a sign of Beijing's influence at the time. That doesn't seem to be the case now.
[01:10:01] Speak to the significance that the location of these talks will actually carry at the end of the day.
YUN: Well, I think it really depends on what, you know, the message that people are trying to communicate. There's talk about it being in Stockholm in Geneva.
There are four-party talks that happened between China and the United States, South Korea and North Korea. Those were what I was a part of in the 1990s. Talks were held there.
There's talk about it being held in Southeast Asia, Singapore. Some people think that here is a -- you know, more a -- economically prosperous country but, you know, relatively authoritarian, in a way, politically. One rule system.
And there's even some discussion that they wanted it in Panmunjom. So it just really depends on what it is that they want to convey. And, obviously, the North Koreans are going to want to it closer to home. Part of it maybe because Kim Jong-un needs to be closer to home.
We're going to try to make it much more neutral. We'll just have to see what happens.
VAUSE: OK. If you're talking North Korea, you're the two people I want to talk to, and so thank you for both being with us.
Will Ripley there in Hong Kong, Philip Yun in San Francisco, thanks to you both.
YUN: Thank you.
VAUSE: Well, Ron Brownstein is someone else I want to talk to. He is CNN's senior political analyst --
RON BROWNSTEIN, SENIOR EDITOR, THE ATLANTIC: Hi, John.
VAUSE: -- and senior editor for "The Atlantic." And all around knowledgeable person on pretty much everything, so let's start with, well, with North Korea.
BROWNSTEIN: That was some real expertise there, so, yes.
VAUSE: They know more about North Korea that most people have forgotten, I think -- or that I've forgotten about North Korea, I should say.
Let's listen a little bit more from the U.S. President talking on Tuesday at Mar-a-Lago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: North Korea is coming along. South Korea is meeting and has plans to meet with North Korea to see if they can end the war. And they have my blessing on that.
And they've been very generous that without us and without me, in particular, I guess, you would have to say, that they wouldn't be discussing anything. Including the Olympics would've been a failure. Instead, it was a great success. They would have had a real problem.
But, as you know, North Korea participated in the Olympics, and it made it -- really, it was quite an Olympics. It was quite a success that would not have happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. Put the cringe factor to one side.
VAUSE: You know, when Donald Trump's taking credit for, you know, the Olympic Games, for the talks between the Koreas, this incoming summit, it sort of reminds me of Donald Trump taking credit for the stock market.
VAUSE: It's great to take credit for the stock market while the prices are going up. The minute it crashes, there's no peep.
VAUSE: And of course, clearly, there's a big risk that this is going to crash.
BROWNSTEIN: Right. Well, look, I mean, this -- I think you can make the case that Trump's unpredictability, his willingness to break the glass, go outside the box, has mostly caused him heartache, headache, and induced risks.
This is one area where it does seem to be having a positive effect. The problem is as they get from here -- as your previous guest noticed, to get from here all the way to the finish line of an actual agreement that makes sense for both sides requires a lot of discipline, nuance, and specificity. That is much tougher for them --
VAUSE: Well, they're not words you often associate with Donald Trump.
BROWNSTEIN: Exactly, right. Exactly right. Because, I mean, look, we have been here before in the sense that the North Koreans have floated the idea of reducing or eliminating their nuclear stockpile in return for us withdrawing our true presence from South Korea.
Now, until we know for sure that that is not the end of the road of this new path, it's not clear that we're really any -- you know, we're any closer to an agreement. It is better than the alternative. The jaw-jaw is better than war-war as --
BROWNSTEIN: -- as someone said.
VAUSE: Yes, exactly. We've gone, you know, fire and fury and Rocket Man to --
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, right.
VAUSE: -- you know, a summit, which is a good sign. You know, this was an odd day at Mar-a-Lago for the President.
VAUSE: There were some very odd things. There's also this --
BROWNSTEIN: As opposed to every other day.
VAUSE: And then -- but this is -- in a scale of odd, this was up there.
VAUSE: The President sort of gave this infomercial --
VAUSE: -- for his golf club at Mar-a-Lago. This is part of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It was given to the United States, and then Jimmy Carter decided it was too expensive for the United States. So they, fortunately for me, gave it back and I bought it. But we are -- who would have thought? It was a circuitous route, but now it is, indeed, the Southern White House.
And, again, many, many people want to be here. Many of the leaders want to be here. They request specifically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: If only there was an emoluments clause in the constitution.
VAUSE: This is sort of -- it feels so awkward.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I think one of the striking things, and a big unanswered political question is -- the striking thing that we know is there is no -- there is no other Donald Trump. There is no changing in office.
He is what he was, for better or worse. And part of what he is and was is someone who refuses to accept kind of the normal boundaries of the mingling of the public business with the private business.
Now, the question we have -- we'll see in 2018 and more pointedly in 2020 is, how many of the people who voted for him in 2016, expecting or hoping that he would be somewhat different as president, are saying this is just too much?
VAUSE: OK. Well, the President is spending five days at Mar-a-Lago.
[01:15:02] BROWNSTEIN: Yes.
VAUSE: A club he clearly loves. According to POLITICO, some White House aides are extremely worried about the next couple of days. They say there is too much time there for the President to think about the Russia investigation, to think about Bob Mueller, to worry about the scandals involving his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.
Here is some of that reporting -- some in the West Wing have come to dread the trips which make an already unpredictable president even more difficult to manage.
The visits to Mar-a-Lago come with more distractions, more reminders of pre-POTUS life, more opportunities for outside friends to make contact, one former White House official said, and more time watching television.
And there does seem to be this pattern of the President lashing out after spending, you know, a certain amount of time amongst his, you know --
BROWNSTEIN: Yes. I have slightly different --
VAUSE: -- $250,000-a-year club members in Mar-a-Lago.
BROWNSTEIN: I have a slightly different take on this because some of the -- the construct of that -- of those quotes from the White House aides is that, well, the President's job is to set policy. When he goes to Mar-a-Lago, he gets distracted into getting into all of these Twitter fights and just kind of picking fights.
I believe that he sees the picking of the fights as central to his role, to his conception of the presidency. That his job is to precipitate or ignite an almost endless series of cultural and political fights that are designed to energize and stir up his base, many of them with racial overtones or this idea that there is an elite that is out to get you.
I mean, I think he views this as -- he doesn't need rich people whispering in his ear to get him back to this place.
BROWNSTEIN: He takes himself back to this place every 72 or 96 hours. And it's almost like -- it really is almost like, in essence, like a reality show where there has to be a new villain, a new conflict, every so often to kind of keep the engine running.
And I -- you know, who knows what they're going to be between now and November? The only thing we know is they're -- they will be there.
VAUSE: Yes. And there is a part of the base which loves to fight more than anything else. BROWNSTEIN: Right, more than anything else.
BROWNSTEIN: He is fighting for me and that --
BROWNSTEIN: And, you know, the other thing they've done, John -- and we saw that again yesterday in the statement from the Republican National Committee chairwoman.
She said that James Comey, on Sunday night, when he argued that Donald Trump was not morally fit to be president, was denigrating the millions of people who voted for him.
What they -- what he and the Republican kind of apparatus is trying to do is equate any attack on him as an attempt to silence his voters. And that has also been pretty effective with a large portion of his base in helping him to kind of reinforce that connection.
VAUSE: Well, you have Donald Trump now, on the one hand, doing this -- you know, the tweets and the culture wars and all that stuff. And now you have Michael Avenatti, who is the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who claims this affair with Donald Trump before he was President.
BROWNSTEIN: Right. Right.
VAUSE: And she's trying to get out of this nondisclosure agreement. And, again, on Tuesday, another publicity stunt from Stormy Daniels and Avenatti, raising a sketch of a man who, they say, threatened here back in 2011. You better drop the story about Trump. It would be a shame if your kid got -- whatever was said.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, right.
VAUSE: You know, this is just one publicity stunt after another coming from the Stormy Daniels camp.
VAUSE: And, you know, if nothing else, this is enraging Donald Trump, isn't it?
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, it is. And, look, they are fighting fire with fire or tabloid with tabloid, and they've shown a great facility for that.
VAUSE: There is a skill there, yes.
BROWNSTEIN: From -- but from the point of view of those who dislike Trump or who -- the Democrats who want to create more of a -- or get more political power to put a check on Trump, I'm not sure this is really helping them that much.
I mean, there's no question or doubts about Trump's values, his morals. His fitness to be President is the principal reason why his approval rating is stuck somewhere in the low 40s despite an economy that is, you know, doing very well by most accounts.
On the other hand, I think there's a lot of evidence that the Democrats have kind of maxed out on the number of people --
VAUSE: On the outrage factor.
BROWNSTEIN: -- on the outrage factor, or the people who will leave him simply because they view him as morally reprehensible.
And that if there is going to be further erosion and further erosion of the Republican position for 2018, it will be more in undermining his claim that he is a champion of working people. That there is an economic argument to make on the Affordable Care Act, on the tax bill.
Today is tax day, right?
BROWNSTEIN: And we are not talking about the tax bill, which is now back underwater in public opinion polling.
And Democrats, you know, want to be able to make the case, look, Donald Trump said he was going to take care of you, working families. In office, he's actually taking care of his rich friends.
BROWNSTEIN: And to the extent that Stormy Daniels is out there every day, every day, every day, I'm not sure they get to make that argument.
VAUSE: OK, very quickly. Since we're talking about Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels, there's been a revelation on Monday that Sean Hannity, the star commentator over at Fox News, is one of only three clients of Michael Cohen.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, right.
VAUSE: The President, you know, and another Republican who is involved in a scandal, and Sean Hannity.
Fox News released this statement. While Fox News was unaware of Sean Hannity's informal relationship with Michael Cohen -- I don't think it was informal -- and was surprised by the announcement in court yesterday, we reviewed the matter and have spoken to Sean and he continues to have our full support.
Hannity never disclosed his relationship with Cohen --
VAUSE: -- whilst he was on air, you know, criticizing that raid by the FBI on his lawyer's office.
BROWNSTEIN: On his lawyer's office.
VAUSE: So I guess no disclosure, no problem, as far as Fox is concerned.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean, we don't -- I don't think we know all the facts about his relationship with Cohen. There may be -- we may or may not know all the facts, and there may be more that we know.
[01:19:58] I think what this shows us, again, is that, with Fox, at this point with the Trump presidency, we are dealing with something we have not seen in American politics, which is, essentially, an outside media arm of a sitting president that views itself, in many ways, as amplifying and delivering his message to his audience.
I mean, in some ways, he inherited their audience, and he kind of -- and kind of amplified the themes that they have been developing for years. There really is not an exact precedent for this in American politics. Maybe Berlusconi in Italy is something like it.
BROWNSTEIN: But the idea of kind of a state media that is there to go after his opponents -- and by the way, not only in the other party but in his party.
BROWNSTEIN: If you are the Republican voices who don't -- who view Donald Trump as a long-term dead end for the party because he is defining Republicans as the party of White grievance against a country that is inexorably growing more diverse, how do you reach that audience?
You know, Fox's place in the media ecosystem is so dominant among Republicans. If you're John Kasich or Jeff Flake or Ben Sasse and you want to -- or Bill Kristol and you want to make a case against Trump --
VAUSE: Where do you go?
BROWNSTEIN: -- to Republican audiences, where do you go now that Fox is basically functioning almost as an arm of the administration?
VAUSE: See, I don't think his audience is going to care there was no disclosure. I think they will --
BROWNSTEIN: No, his audience will not care.
BROWNSTEIN: But the point is what it says about Fox more than what it says about him.
VAUSE: Yes, yes.
BROWNSTEIN: Because Fox is making an important statement with this. That they are abandoning any idea that they are functioning as an -- you know, anything close to a normal journalistic organization because there is no other journalistic organization in which there would not be some consequence for what Sean Hannity did.
VAUSE: You don't accept the argument that primetime is commentary and during the day is where real news is? Does that --
VAUSE: As do I, as well. As always, good to see you.
BROWNSTEIN: Good to see you.
VAUSE: Thank you.
Well, there's a tense waiting game right now in Syria. International inspectors still have not been able to get inside the town where a suspected chemical weapons attack left dozens dead. Now, that may be about to change. Details in a moment.
Also ahead, tributes are pouring in from around the world for one of America's most beloved first ladies, Barbara Bush.
VAUSE: Barbara Bush, former first lady of the United States and matriarch of a political dynasty has died. She was 92.
Her husband, former President George H.W. Bush held his wife hand's all day and was at her side when she passed away. That's according to his Chief of Staff.
The funeral is set for this Saturday. It will be invitation only, but there will be a public viewing on Friday in the family's hometown of Houston, Texas.
While tributes to Barbara Bush have been coming in from all around the world, we have this statement from the White House.
President Donald J. Trump and his first lady Melania Trump join the nation in celebrating the life of Barbara Bush. She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family, both of which she served unfailingly well.
Barack and Michelle Obama said this. We'll always be grateful to Mrs. Bush for the generosity she showed to us throughout our time at the White House, but we're even more grateful for the way she lived her life as an example of the humility and decency that reflects the very best of the American spirit.
[01:25:00] And there is a statement from Barbara Bush's son, former President George W. Bush.
My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was. Barbara Bush was a fabulous first lady and a woman unlike any other. I'm a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother.
Well, joining me here now is Carl Sferrazza Anthony. He is author and consulting historian with the National First Ladies' Library.
Thank you for coming in.
CARL SFERRAZZA ANTHONY, CONSULTING HISTORIAN, NATIONAL FIRST LADIES' LIBRARY: Thank you.
VAUSE: OK. So, Carl, let's just start with sort of what have been going on for the last couple of weeks here because the former first lady, she's not been well for some time.
And I think it was just a couple of days ago, they released a statement saying that she would no longer seek care, that she would now focus on what's known as comfort care. So, you know, a sad moment but not entirely unexpected.
ANTHONY: No, but I think, to the public, rather unexpected because it's been her husband who, because of his Parkinson's diseases, has been -- have to rely upon a wheelchair. And so it was a little bit startling, even though she was 92 years old.
Two years ago, she was out on the campaign stump for her son Jeb, making appearances and giving speeches. And so -- and she still had that characteristic spiciness and she wit.
VAUSE: She was spiky, yes.
VAUSE: She was tart, I guess, is one way to put it. And with that in mind, above everything else, everything that she did in public life, whether it was focusing on literacy or, you know, hugging your patients with HIV in the '90s when nobody else was doing and setting an example there, she kind of -- well, from I've read anyway and what I've seen, it was her role as a mother and as a wife which she saw as being most important.
And we saw that come out, her loyalty to her family trumped the Republican Party two years ago. When Donald Trump went after Jeb, boy, she went after Donald Trump.
ANTHONY: Yes, she sure did. And there's some irony in that in 1992, when Hillary Clinton was the opposing candidate's spouse, that she and Mrs. Bush were positioned by the media appositionally.
ANTHONY: And then these years later, she, essentially, by default, said she was, you know, supporting Hillary Clinton or voting for Hillary Clinton.
ANTHONY: I think what you said is very true, though, that the notion of mother, the idea of a national mother. In many ways --
VAUSE: She looked the part.
ANTHONY: She looked the part. And in many ways, she evoked, you know, what used to be called way back before anyone's memory -- back in the day of Abigail Adams, the only other woman who was the wife of a vice president, a president, and then a mother of another president -- you know, the idea of the sort of federalist mother, the national mother.
And so she came by that naturally. And, you know, all figures in public life develop a persona. When that persona can be as close and as authentic to the person, people detect that. And I think that was true of her.
VAUSE: So how much of a political asset was she, you know, first to her husband and then to her son, George W. Bush? Because in the end, you know, Jeb Bush didn't go on and maybe that was a campaign that couldn't be helped by anything. But, clearly, you know, her son and her husband, you know, made it all the way to the White House.
ANTHONY: She was a very popular figure and what you saw in -- particularly in 1988 and '92 when her husband sought the presidency for a first term and then his second term he sought, which, of course, he didn't win, is that she began to address a lot of the more human issues.
VAUSE: Because George H.W. Bush was bad at that.
ANTHONY: Yes, he was. He was -- he was uncomfortable --
VAUSE: Well, he wasn't particularly good at it, I should say, yes.
ANTHONY: Yes. He was not comfortable, I think, talking about human issues, and she really gave context to those things, using that no- nonsense manner but combining it with compassion. So it was strength but warmth. And that's a winning combination.
VAUSE: Yes. Very quickly, we're out of time. She was 16 when she met George Herbert Walker, and they went to a school dance. Seventy- six years together is a long time. What do we know about how the President is doing right now?
ANTHONY: For -- really very little. Other than the fact that he was with her, holding her hand, and, you know, it's going to be tough.
VAUSE: It's going to be tough, absolutely.
OK, Carl. Thanks for coming in.
ANTHONY: Thank you.
VAUSE: Thank you.
Well, Barbara Bush is known for telling it like it is, even when it came to her own family. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My mother was on the front line and expressed herself frequently.
Dad, of course, is available, but he was a busy guy. And he was on the road a lot in his businesses and, obviously, on the road a lot when he was campaigning.
And so mother was there to maintain order and discipline. She was the sergeant.
JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: Well, mom, the nickname that -- one of many nicknames she has was the enforcer. So there were unwritten rules and if you violated them, she would enforce the rules and do it in a way that was pretty effective.
NEIL BUSH, BARBARA BUSH'S SON: Mom is amazing. She really is. She is so smart, so sharp, so aware. She's -- she's witty. She's wise. I would say it was -- her role, more important role was keeping us humble and grounded.
I mean she was a rule maker and she did have high expectations for keeping things neat and just basic rules. And she would let us know when we hadn't met those rules but you know she would never let us think we were any different or better than others. And she was -- she just kept us grounded.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back everybody. If you're just joining us you're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Los Angeles. I'm John Vause.
We have the headlines this hour.
Mike Pompeo may not be Secretary of State just yet but he's already handling some top U.S. diplomacy. Sources confirm Pompeo travelled to North Korea over Easter weekend and met with Kim Jong-un.
President Trump says officials are considering five locations for his planned summit with Mr. Kim.
Former U.S. first lady, Barbara Bush, is being remembered for her devotion to country and family. Mrs. Bush died Tuesday at her home in Houston, Texas. She was 92 and one of just two women in history to be both the wife and mother of an American President. She also helped raised more than a billion dollars for literacy and cancer charities.
Ok. Syria's ambassador to the U.N. says international chemical weapons inspectors will get to Douma on Wednesday, that is, if the U.N. security team there says it's safe. The town is the site of a suspected deadly chemical weapons attack earlier this month.
The inspectors will try to determine if banned chemical substances were used in the April 7th incident which the U.S., France and Britain blame on the Syrian regime. Russia had said it found no trace of a chemical attack but now its military claims it found a chemical lab in Douma which it insists belongs to militants. The U.S. says it's critical the inspectors get to Douma as soon as possible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEATHER NAUERT, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: The longer that it takes to get OPCW inspectors in to take a look at soil samples and other information that they can get from ground that delay further degrades any evidence that's on the ground.
So that is our chief concern. We want them to be able to get in as quickly as possible, as safely as possible. But we also want that evidence to be as pure as possible for their investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Joining us now Michael Krause, former U.S. Marine captain and State Department contractor, a man with experience in the region. So Michael -- thanks for being with us.
MICHAEL KRAUSE, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT CONTRACTOR: Good to be here -- John.
VAUSE: Ok. We just heard from the U.S. State Department unable to confirm that U.N. inspectors have actually gained access to Douma.
[01:35:05] Listen to the Syrian ambassador to the U.N., his version of events.
BASHAR JAAFARI, SYRIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS (through translator): Today the U.N. security team entered Douma around 3:00 p.m. Damascus time and 8:00 a.m. New York time in order to assess the security situation on the ground. And if this United Nations security team decides that the situation is sound in Douma then the fact- finding mission will begin its work in Douma tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Ok. Riddle me this. How is it that the Syrians can have one version of events complete with times when they're meant to be there but the U.S. and the U.N. can't simply confirm that their people are there? I mean that seems like it's the most simple and basic thing you can do, pick up the phone and call them.
KRAUSE: It's -- well, I mean it may not be that simple. I mean they're under control. It's Russian and Assad-controlled areas. So from what I heard they've been able to get access today but I'm not sure in terms of access if that --
VAUSE: Well, there's access and then there is access.
KRAUSE: Yes. Is it access to the Douma region or is it access to actual attack site because we don't know exactly how large the attack site was.
VAUSE: So, I mean this sounds like the Russians playing games.
KRAUSE: Of course. The Russians always play games.
VAUSE: We'll let you in to Douma. They're in Douma. What more do you want? Well, we want to get to the site. Well it's not safe, maybe tomorrow. Sit tight.
You know, this is what happens a lot.
KRAUSE: They're stalling.
KRAUSE: It's been 11 days since the attack. These particular -- these particular agents, whether it's chlorine or sarin, they're non- persistent agents meaning they dissipate over time. Under normal environmental conditions over whether it's a couple of weeks they're going to be gone -- that's without the Russians or Assad or Iranians bringing decontamination troops that could -- because American decontamination Army troops or Marine troops would be able to go in and clean the site so when the inspector showed up there is no trace of any chemical weapon.
VAUSE: So 11, 12 days now --
VAUSE: -- under normal environmental circumstances you're saying they could still find traces of these chemicals if they were use in this attack?
KRAUSE: It depends on what was used.
KRAUSE: Chlorine is used in normal industrial, you know, know environmental, you know --
VAUSE: It's used in water purification.
KRAUSE: -- water purification. Cleaning materials, things like that.
Sarin however is going to be a little more persistent in terms of if you find a trace of it, you know that there was an attack rather than --
VAUSE: How quickly does that break down though?
KRAUSE: Like I said, it just depends on the environmental conditions, how much was used. Based on the first responders' reports, it seems to me that it was sarin gas to get the kind of results that was happening in those individuals, you'd have to use a lot of chlorine.
But like you said, it just depends on time and how much access are these inspectors going to get once they're actually on the ground.
VAUSE: How thorough are these sort of, you know, cleanup crews, if you like that could be there? The Russians, the Iranians?
KRAUSE: The Russians -- it depends on if the Russians really want to play out the theory that it didn't happen. They could have flown people in from Moscow. They could have --
VAUSE: -- which takes a couple of days.
KRAUSE: -- which takes a couple of days but like I said, American troops -- depending on how large it was, the target area, they could clean up all traces.
On another topic, the U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis was talking on Tuesday about why these air strikes were carried out in the first place. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MATTIS, U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: The French and the United Kingdom and the United States allies -- all NATO allies -- we worked together to maintain the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons and that's how we came together. That's why we came together.
We did not have to search for common ground. We had common ground. And we did what we believed was right under international law, under our nation's laws. And I hope that this time the Assad regime got the message.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Yes. Ok. Well, we'll see.
Mattis also briefed lawmakers on Tuesday. It was a classified briefing. Many left that meeting more than a little concerned like Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. He told reporters as he left "I'm very unnerved by what I'm hearing and seeing." He said the briefing on the strikes made him more worried not less. The administration, he said, is going down a dangerous path with regards to Syria."
He didn't give a lot of any details actually but clearly there is this concern now that despite this one-off military action that there still is not this strategy to deal with Assad; that you know, we're now into this pattern of, you know, a lot of talk over a long period of time and then maybe a couple of missiles get lobbed in and then we all go back to square one.
KRAUSE: I agree. I've tried to figure out what exactly the policy is. What is the strategy? And I don't know. I've talked to a lot of people. The three things that I pulled out of all the information that is out there is number one we want to try to contain Assad. The second is we want to give notice to bad actors which is what the strike did. If you use chemical weapons --
VAUSE: Strike anywhere around the world.
KRAUSE: -- anywhere around the world, which I also think was a sign to North Korea as well which it seems that the Trump administration is focused more on North Korea which as we know, as you reported earlier there are some really good development in that area.
[01:40:03] And the third I think, the one strategy -- because the American people do not have a stomach for putting more ground troops --
VAUSE: 200,000 troops in Syria.
KRAUSE: -- 200,000 troops. If you want to get rid of Assad we can do that but we are going to be in direct confrontation with not only Assad's forces because we're going to remove him. But --
VAUSE: Right. Also with the Russian --
KRAUSE: -- the Russian forces, Iranian forces and things like that.
So I think the Trump strategy or the Mattis strategy is contain, put people on notice and then recently this past week, we've talked about an all Arab --
KRAUSE: -- going in and replacing our 2,000 troops that are in northern Syria. The problem with that is if the Arab force is going to be led by the Saudis because the Egyptians just said that they don't want any part of it.
If you have an Arab force that is led by the Saudis, the Emirati troops are going to be there as well -- they're in a cold war with Iran right now. Iran backed Houthi rebels are launching ballistic missiles into Riyadh.
VAUSE: So basically that Yemen conflict then spreads to Syria.
KRAUSE: It's then going to spread to Syria so you're going to have Saudi troops fighting Iranian-backed militias with the Russians on the border with Israel and it could get messy really fast, more so than it already is.
VAUSE: They control the environment --
(CROSSTALK) VAUSE: -- because it's nuts at the moment. It's just going to go insane.
KRAUSE: It's absolute chaos.
VAUSE: Ok. Michael -- and it's not getting any better so I guess we'll just wait and see --
KRAUSE: No, it's not.
VAUSE: Michael -- thanks. Good to see you. Appreciate it.
KRAUSE: Thanks -- John. Good to see you. >
VAUSE: Well for the second time in as many days the British government has apologized for its treatment of the so-called Windrush generation. The government invited migrants from the Caribbean to help rebuild Britain after World War II. But new rules on immigration have not left thousands scrambling to prove they are legally living in the United Kingdom.
Isa Soares has the latest.
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anthony Bryan came to London from Jamaica in September 1964 when he was just eight years of age. And the first sights left him in awe.
ANTHONY BRYAN, WINDRUSH IMMIGRANT: All I remember is the lights because when I came out, when the plane came in England I saw the lights and how big it was. I thought, nice. I loved it. I loved it when I saw it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the arrival of more than 400 happy Jamaicans.
SOARES: Anthony is one of an estimated 500,000 Commonwealth citizens who came here at the request of the British government to help rebuild the U.K. after the Second World War. But over 50 years later he's been arrested and detained twice by the country he has always called home.
Did you ever think you were going to be deported?
BRYAN: Yes, I did. They had a ticket for me.
SOARES: What -- really?
BRYAN: They had a ticket. They tell me that they were going to move me out on Wednesday. I was sweating about it. I was nervous about it.
SOARES: The British government recently tightened its migration rules requiring employers and others to demand evidence of citizenship or immigration status. But some like Anthony who came here as children with their parents never got the proper paperwork.
BRYAN: It's been hard because I couldn't do nothing. I couldn't go to doctors. I've got to go to the hospital if I was sick. I couldn't go to the dentist. I couldn't rent nowhere.
SOARES: His story though is not unique. It's estimated around 50,000 Caribbean migrants are also living with uncertainty. And British Prime Minister Theresa May is being blamed for causing it while in charge of the Home Office.
THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: And particularly the Windrush generation --
SOARES: And embarrassment now for her as Prime Minister as she hosts the Caribbean heads of government. Eventually an apology did come.
MAY: And I want to apologize to you today because we are genuinely sorry for any anxiety that has been caused.
SOARES: The government has announced the creation of a new task force to make sure the Windrush generation will no longer be classified as being in the U.K. illegally.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I believe that the right thing is being done at this time.
SOARES: Despite the assurances questions still remain as to if and how many people have been deported, clarity that can't come soon enough to this generation many of whom devoted their lives to this country.
Isa Soares, CNN -- London.
VAUSE: Well now a warning about global air pollution. A new report finds more than 95 percent of the world's population is breathing unhealthy air and the poorest nations are the hardest hit.
The annual report by the Health Effects Institute found that long-term exposure to air pollution contributed to more than six million deaths in 2016. Pakistan, Bangladesh and India are among the top violators. They have experienced the steepest increases in pollution since 2010.
Boy, it's a surprise that China isn't on that list.
Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins us for more on this.
You know, there is this whole thing. They're going to pollute and then they're going to get rich and then they're going to clean up but a lot of them are going to end up being teenagers with emphysema.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That's one way to put it, yes. You know, John -- and I know you lived in China. You've certainly experienced the worst of it all --
VAUSE: Oh yes.
JAVAHERI: -- as well. Good news in this study actually -- John. It's showing that we are seeing improvement since 2010 versus the other countries that you mentioned -- Bangladesh, Pakistan and India seeing a drop in air quality in the last eight or so years.
[01:45:00] I want to talk about this because John mentioned that number -- 6.1 million deaths in 2016 associated with long-term exposure to such pollutants across the atmosphere.
And another way to look at that, that's 16,500 deaths per day every single day of the year. Or look at this way -- four commercial jets falling out of the sky each hour every single day, 24 hours for 365 days. That's how many deaths we're seeing associated with exposure to pollution and particulates of this magnitude across really a pretty expansive area but in particular 51 percent coming from parts of China on into parts of India.
So they are the global leaders in air pollutants with China seeing improving. But the study finding that air pollution now coming in the fourth leading cause of death around the world right behind high blood pressure, diet, and smoking rounding out the top-three list there.
And when you look at this, we talk about the 2.5 microns -- that's the size of the diameter of such pollutants, the combustion particles. That's some 25 times smaller than the average diameter of a human hair, some 35 times or so smaller than the average diameter of a grain of sand. So small enough to get into your lungs, into your bloodstream and makes it a very dangerous course and 92 percent of this coming from low to middle-income countries.
We know of course using solid fuels such as wood, such as charcoal to heat homes and of course the industry outside really play a role. But you see China has seen a drop in levels. We've seen parts of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan increase.
And in fact, if you take a look at this, China gets a bad rap -- they've seen conditions improve. India coming in with 13 of the top 20 cities in the world with the lowest air quality levels and, of course, in the 21st century we saw this in China 2015 with India surpassing China when it comes to air quality level -- or to poor air quality level, that is. So a lot of changes for the better very slowly in China; not so the case in other parts -- John.
VAUSE: Ok. Thanks -- Pedram. Appreciate it.
JAVAHERI: You bet.
VAUSE: Ok. Still to come here -- terror high in the sky, a mid- flight accident, a broken window and a woman almost pulled through that window in this Southwest jet.
VAUSE: A Frenchman has made history, now the first person in the world to have received two face transplants. Jerome Hamon was born with a genetic disorder which left his face distorted.
His first face transplant was eight years ago but it was rejected by his body. He waited three months without a face until a compatible donor was found.
During that time, he lived in a hospital room. He couldn't see. He couldn't speak. He couldn't hear. His doctor says he never complained.
DR. LAURENT LANTIERI, PLASTIC SURGEON (through translator): My fear was not to find a compatible donor. It was really stressful. We were wondering how much time we have to wait -- one month, two months, six months, two years. That's what the challenge was.
JEROME HAMON, "MAN WITH THREE FACES" (through translator): I am 43 years old. The donor was 22 years old which makes me 20 years younger.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[01:50:02] VAUSE: Well Jerome has been dubbed "the man with three faces". An expert tells CNN this is a significant moment in the field of face transplants.
Well, in the United States a woman was killed after almost being pulled through the shattered window of a Southwest passenger jet at 31,000 feet. All of this happened after one of the plane's engines failed shortly after takeoff from New York.
Our Brian Todd has details.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is passenger Marty Martinez Facebook Live streaming what he thinks will be his death. Martinez tells CNN he was on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 when one of its engines failed possibly from an explosion about 30 minutes into the flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Dallas.
MARTY MARTINEZ, PASSENGER IN SOUTHWEST FLIGHT 1380: All of a sudden we hear this loud explosion and it's like within a span of five seconds all of the -- all of the oxygen masks deployed. And then just a few seconds later another explosion happened and it was a window that just completely exploded. And is you can imagine everybody was going crazy and yelling and screaming.
TODD: Martinez says the flight attendants appeared to be panicking. The pilot projected calm.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Southwest 1380 has an engine fire descending.
TODD: The NTSB says one passenger was killed. It may be have been a woman who witnesses say was sitting near this window, blown open, they say by shrapnel from the explosion.
MARTINEZ: Her like arms and her body was sucked in that -- like sucked in that direction from my vantage point. Then you see people from the back of the seat holding on to her, you know, trying to keep her contained.
TODD: Martinez tells CNN a man who tended to that passenger had blood all over his hands. He says the plane experienced violent turbulence, that he saw his colleague sitting next to him typing out a goodbye message to his family.
The plane quickly depressurized and made an emergency landing in Philadelphia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The flight crew did an incredible job getting this aircraft here on the ground.
TODD: Officials say a few other passengers suffered minor injuries.
KATHY FAMAN, PASSENGER: When we landed, they told us -- I guess they did tell us to sit there and then the paramedics came on with all sorts of equipment and ran to the back.
TODD: Former NTSB official Peter Gaul says, initially investigators may focus on possible failure of the fan blades inside the engine.
PETER GAUL, FORMER NTSB OFFICIAL: Most typically a fan blade fails because of some sort of maintenance oversight, some sort of foundry failure that there is the tiniest little anomaly that can grow with the enormous pressure that the speed of the rotating engine puts on it. You can have a fatigue crack that could have been hard to determine where it was.
TODD: Now a terrified emotional passenger tells CNN the landing was so violent he thought they were crashing.
MARTINEZ: I feel just so -- just really lucky to be alive. You know I've had a lot of people contact me and, you know, loved ones calling. And you know, all I could think about as I was going down in that plane was you know, how my life was being taken away from me.
TODD: This of course, could have been so much worse and aviation experts are telling us one thing that could have happened would have been a partial or catastrophic failure of the plane's left wing. They say these 737s have fuel tanks throughout the wings.
If the explosion of the shrapnel from the explosion had ignited a fuel thank and damaged that wing, possibly compromised the hydraulic controls then the pilot could have lost control of the flaps and the plane could have crashed.
Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.
VAUSE: Ok. When we come back, have you seen this man? If that's the case Stormy Daniels -- she wants to talk to you.
[01:53:42] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)\ VAUSE: Well, former (INAUDIBLE) -- the latest PR stunt by the former adult film star Stormy Daniels and her attorney. They're asking the public for information on the man she says threatened her in a Las Vegas parking lot. There he is.
A sketch artist came up with an image on of the man, where else but on morning television in the U.S. And now, well the public actually have plenty of ideas of just who this guy looks like.
Here is Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When Stormy Daniels released this sketch it unleashed the sleuths of the Internet casting suspicion on everyone from Bon Jovi to Billy Bush -- just saying.
JOY BEHAR, TV HOST: I mean he looks like an actor, sort of.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's why he stood out because I thought, honestly that he was, you know, sort of handsome.
MOOS: Which brings us to the Internet's prime suspect quarterback Tom Brady -- after all he's known to own a Make America Great Again hat. "Yes, we got him," read one tweet.
Some even saw similarities to that infamously unattractive courtroom stretch of Brady. But wait -- wrong.
Stormy's antagonizer is Willem Dafoe -- the old version or the eerily alike young one. Some of the tongue-in-cheek suspects aren't even human. For instance this puppet from Team America: World Police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Matt Damon.
MOOS: Having a prior record might be a clue. I've found him and she -- meaning Stormy -- really should be worried about Dexter, the serial killer.
Or how about a former member of the administration? Mooch better have an alibi. The Mooch, Anthony Scaramucci, actually responded countering suspicion by citing height or lack of it. The Mooch tweeted, "I thought the description said he was 6'2. I'm all good." Scaramucci is reported to be only 5'8. Though the actual suspect is described by Stormy as 5'9 to 6 feet so the Mooch just misses.
We can only imagine the responses Stormy's attorney is getting to their offer of $100,000 reward.
MICHAEL AVENATTI, STORMY DANIELS ATTORNEY: If people go to email@example.com they can send us the information that they have --
MOOS: The Internet is no slug when it comes to IDing the Thug -- Jeanne Moos, CNN -- New York.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Kind of creepy.
You're watching NEWSROOM L.A. I'm John Vause.
Stay with us. A lot more news after a very short break.
[01:57:47] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)