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New Fissures Open as Hawaii Braces for Explosive Volcanic Eruption; Israel Boosts Troops Ahead of U.S. Embassy Opening in Jerusalem; Controversial Pastors to Lead Prayers in Jerusalem; White House Aide Told Meghan McCain She'd Publicly Apologize But Hasn't; Bolton Won't Say If He Advises Trump to Pursue Regime Change; Noah on How Trump Changed "The Daily Show"; Vanishing History of the Gullah Geechee People; U.S./China Trade Tensions in Spotlight. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired May 13, 2018 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[18:00:05] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Look at that. Listen to the sound and now these images. Heartbreaking for the families who live there. Some of these lava flows have already reached dozens of homes and buildings. The people who lived in this house in this video moved to Hawaii to retire. And now everything they have is gone.
So far about 2,000 people have been forced to evacuate and thousands of others are waiting for their orders to leave everything behind and they're praying Mother Nature spares them.
I want to get straight to the ground to see for yourself what's happening as we speak.
Anthony Quintano is joining us now. He traveled to the big island to report on this eruption.
Anthony, I know you're near two of the newest fissures. We listened to this video just a moment ago, could hear the power and what's happening there. Describe what it's like being so close to one of these vents.
ANTHONY QUINTANO, EYEWITNESS: We're about half mile so the fissure is right behind me. The new one that's popped up today. And it's like a massive explosion. And we're staying in a house right up here on the hill. And it just keeps battering the house and it shakes and it's like an explosion going off every 10 minutes. And you can see it, it's still going on behind me.
CABRERA: Is that what we're hearing as well? We keep hearing a popping sound. Is that what that is?
QUINTANO: Right now you hear like a jet engine sound. That's constant. That the explosions that we hear. That's actually small and quiet right now. But every once in while we get a loud burst and it shakes everything and the whole house moves for a brief second. It's pretty intense.
CABRERA: And tell me again just how close these explosions, these mini-fissure explosions are happening to homes and buildings. QUINTANO: Well, actually this one just now has affected one
structure, a new structure that partially damaged. Obviously we can't see how much yet but it's running right along the flow exactly. Not the fissure itself. But the flow coming out of the fissure is -- has damaged the structure in this area already. But I believe we're at a total of around 37 structures damaged in general from the very beginning of this evacuation.
CABRERA: Are you worried about the toxic gas or potential acid rain?
QUINTANO: Acid rain not so much. But the toxic gas we're very concerned about. We have respirators. We've been very lucky. You can tell the wind is blowing the nauseas fumes away from us. But every once in a while it will come in our direction we will get a whiff of it. We'll throw our masks, our respirators on real quick. So we're prepared for that.
CABRERA: When we've been showing these pictures, they are coming from the fissure, which I think it's hard for all of us who aren't there or haven't experienced this first hand to really understand what that is compared to the main volcano that, of course, is still very volatile. We understand it could erupt at any time. Is there any kind of warning system in place for that?
QUINTANO: They've been warning everybody since the beginning about the possibility. I think they have been very broad about it. There's no way -- there's no warning. Like if it happen, it's instant. So they do the best they can. So they'll know as soon as possible if something does happen to warn people. But they've done a great job as far as getting everyone away and warning people about the possible eruption at the crater as well.
CABRERA: As a journalist who is there reporting on this, what has struck you the most so far?
QUINTANO: I'm going to tell you, I've never seen lava up front. Personally ever. I've never felt an earthquake personally. And I've experienced both in the span of 36 hours. With fissure 16 we were about 10, 15 feet away from the lava flow coming out. And it's -- I can't even explain. I'm speechless. What I've experienced. And to witness this it's a constant adrenalin, you know, it's very scary and intense. But we do make sure that we are safe in observing.
CABRERA: And what is the plan for this community, the larger community near the volcano moving forward?
QUINTANO: They've been playing it day-by-day but a lot of the communities already have evacuated. There are some folks that are just kind of keeping an eye as to where it goes. But a lot of people especially with everything that happened (INAUDIBLE) estate, everyone is already packed up and either left the island or are staying at a camp site. But a lot of people are aware. And I think especially after the last couple of fissures seeing where it's going, the folks ahead of that further ahead are probably going to take notice now and start moving. [18:05:04] But they put a mandatory evacuation where we are right now.
The police said that we're safe actually in our location. But we're only a handful of people that are in this area right now.
CABRERA: Well, Anthony Quintano, please stay safe and thank you so much for sharing your reporting with us and what you're experiencing there. We'll be in touch. Again, please stay safe.
If that wasn't enough now, I want to get you some more information about just how big these fissures are, how close they are to home, the kind of danger they pose.
Meteorologist Tom Sater is joining us from CNN headquarters in Atlanta for more on that.
Tom, help us out.
TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: All right. Let's break it all down, Ana, because it's quite massive really in its scope here. This is the main chamber. OK. Kilauea, we've seen of course the plumes. The fissures that are opening up are releasing this energy from underground are good 20, 25 miles away., So the lava that was in the main chamber has been draining. It's been making its way underground for that 20 or 25 miles.
So let's break this down, too. Each time we have one or what's leading up to these are the tremors. We've had hundreds of them. Many around the summit and then on the east rift. And this is where the fissures have been opening up.
Now we thought we had number 18 today. Hawaii Volcano Observatory said no, it's just 17. Because officially to have a fissure it needs to emit lava. So you can have the smoke, you can have the pressure and the gas. But it needs to emit lava. This is Leilani Estate. These are where the homes are. Notice we've got evacuation zones, we've got road closures. The green triangles are all the fissures.
Now over the weekend and last week, there was no rhyme or reason to them. We've had a couple on Thursday that were to the southwest and a couple of more to the northeast. But these weekends have been the furthest to the east that we have seen which tells you that this is traveling underground until it gives.
So as this lava is released, it is draining the main chamber. That's important to know here. Take a look at this imagery that we've got from the USGS. It's a camera that looks down into the caldera. As the lava drops, which was at the top, it releases pressure so there's like landslides. There's debris that falling inside.
Here is the lava on April 23rd. Now this is important because there is a fear that we could have a steam driven, massive, violent eruption if this lava drops all the way down to the water table which is at 1500 feet. Right now the lava is down almost 1200. A couple of feet a day.
Another near little 3D imagery, technology is amazing here. From the USGS. they can tell us from using their high-tech cameras what this caldera or this chamber is actually shaped like. And it's getting down and tapering at the end which means debris is coming down which is going to cause pressure but it's also like packing a cannon. And when this thing goes, it's going to blow.
Let's take a look another 3D area and you'll get an idea of exactly what we've been watching. So as the fissures again release the magma, we'll see the magma in the main chamber drop. If it gets down to this water level here, with all that debris inside, it doesn't mean it's going to happen but the elements are there. And if they interact just perfectly, this is where a massive eruption could occur like it did in 1924 where you had boulders that were eight tons, you know, size of a car, to 14 tons.
Ana, that's like a semi tractor trailer truck that were blown a good half mile to even a mile away. So it's dropping quickly. It's a big concern. The more fissures that are expected, which will most likely happen, will drain more of that lava from the main caldera or that main chamber. So it's a little frightening but the tremors are going to continue to occur as this activity continues.
CABRERA: It's hard to fathom. And my mind keeps going to the dinosaur books that I've been reading with my 6-year-old son.
CABRERA: I mean, this is like out of the storybook.
Tom Sater, thank you for staying on top of this very serious situation happening right now.
Coming up, the president's daughter and son-in-law touching down in Israel ahead of the U.S. embassy opening in Jerusalem. But there's controversy brewing about whom will speak at the ceremony. We'll explain there.
Plus a CNN exclusive. The host of "The Daily Show" Trevor Noah on why he thinks Trump is like an African dictator and how this presidency has changed his show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TREVOR NOAH, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": As things become scarier, as the world becomes less secure, as people question, you know, the security that they exist within, that's when comedy becomes more cutting because in many ways it's the release valve to their fear or that tension.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[18:13:38] CABRERA: Israel now bracing for thousands more Palestinian protesters at the Gaza border ahead of tomorrow's opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, considered one of President Trump's boldest and perhaps most controversial moves. Israelis are celebrating this historic event. Palestinians are
Well, President Trump is not attending tomorrow's opening. His daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner will be there.
Let's get straight to Elise Labott, CNN's global affairs correspondent, live in Jerusalem for us.
And so, Elise, what are your hearing now about the security preparations ahead of tomorrow's opening as we look at the protests that are growing in this area?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, the security is not just being beefed up here in Jerusalem around the embassy. You don't only have, you know, those Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, other Cabinet officials and also dozens of congressmen, you also have Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joining the ceremony at the embassy.
Israelis are beefing up on the border with Gaza because there's been a lot of tensions and expected to be some very violent protests tomorrow. And then you have the U.S. which is beefing up security at its embassies in the Arab and Muslim world.
[18:15:03] Everybody is expecting a very tense day tomorrow in the region, Ana.
CABRERA: What is the mood in Jerusalem among everyday people? How invested are they in this embassy opening?
LABOTT: Ana, I can't tell you the emotion that Israelis feel over this move. And that's why President Trump is so popular here. Today was Jerusalem Day, celebrating the unification of the city. And among those Israeli flag, I saw dozens of Trump signs. "Make America Great Again" signs. And President Trump is so popular here not just because of the embassy move but because Israelis feel that President Trump has their back.
Not just on the Palestinian issue, the Jerusalem issue, but also pulling out of that Iran deal earlier last week. And I think Israelis have been waiting for so long for their closest ally, the U.S., to recognize what they believe and they consider their capital Israel -- Jerusalem as their capital. And so obviously the Palestinians feel that Jerusalem should be their capital as well. They think that President Trump kind of prejudiced those final negotiations that are supposed to determine the fate of Jerusalem. The U.S. saying no, that doesn't really mean that part of Jerusalem can't be a Palestinian state in the future.
But certainly, Ana, there hasn't been a U.S. president in such lockstep with Israel in decades. And that's how Israelis feel today.
CABRERA: Elise Labott, thank you.
Joining us now to discuss, CNN contributor and former ambassador to the Czech Republic, Norm Eisen. He also worked to advance U.S.-Israel relations during his time with the Anti--Defamation League.
So, Ambassador, good to have you with us. There's been a lot of controversies surrounding the speakers at the embassy opening tomorrow. And one of them is Reverend Robert Jeffress. He has a long history of inflammatory remarks that Muslims, Mormons, and other groups. Just listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. ROBERT JEFFRESS, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: And here's the deep, dark, and dirty secret of Islam. It is a religion that promotes pedophilia. Sex with children. Mormonism is not Christianity. It has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of Christianity.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hindus and Buddhist, Islam, cult?
JEFFRESS: Yes. Absolutely. Mohammed was nothing but a blood thirsty water lord who beheaded 600 Jews who would not follow him.
JEFFRESS: Islam is wrong. It's a heresy from the pit of hell. Mormonism is wrong. It is a heresy from the pit of hell.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Ambassador Eisen, should he be the one giving a prayer tomorrow?
NORM EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Ana, thanks for having me back. And as somebody who was trained in diplomacy school, I can't imagine a worst spokesman in this already very tense, volatile situation than Dr. Jeffress. You know, Jerusalem is known -- I've spent a lot of time there myself. I lived there for a time when I was a student. It is known as a city of multiple religions where Jews, Muslims, Christians all come together.
And with his negative statements about some branches of Christianity and about Islam, he's the wrong man. It already challenging situation is made much worse by having him there. So bad choice.
CABRERA: There's another pastor, John Hague, who is expected to give the closing benediction. And back in the '90s, he came under fire for suggesting the holocaust was part of a divine plan to get Jews back to the promised land. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN HAGUE, PASTOR: God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: He did later express regret for that remark but Norm, I know you're mother was a holocaust survivor. What's your reaction to his inclusion in the ceremony? EISEN: Well, he was right to apologize for his remarks. The
apologies were accepted by the Anti-Defamation League, by Abe Foxman who was the head of it himself. A survivor of the holocaust as a hidden child. So I do think in that spirit of peace and forgiveness, that Jerusalem exemplifies as city of peace that we ought to forgive those bigoted and foolish remarks.
You know, to blame anything other than human evil is to desecrate the memory but he apologized and I accept the apology.
CABRERA: Yes. Gracious response there, Ambassador Eisen. Now by moving the embassy, we all know President Trump has fulfilled a campaign promise the past presidents have also made but never delivered on. Here is a reminder.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Jerusalem is still the capital and must remain an undivided city accessible to all.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: As soon as I take office, I will begin the process of moving the United States ambassador to the city of Israel as chosen as its capital.
[18:20:08] BARRACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I continue to say that Jerusalem will be the capital of Israel. And I have said that before and I will say it again.
And Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: We are seeing this happen now in the next 24 hours. Does President Trump deserve credit for fulfilling this promise?
EISEN: Well, Ana, I think what you heard in all those president was a commitment to Jerusalem as President Obama said will be the capital. There's a realization that it functions as the capital for the state of Israel. And the idea that the presidents have embraced and been careful about make the city -- because it's a big deal when you put the U.S. embassy there, make that part of a peace deal, put that on the table to bring the sides together.
And President Trump is honoring the commitment but the risk here -- and nobody who loves Jerusalem can, certainly among the supporters of Israel, can fail to acknowledge the meaning of what's happening but here is the problem, Ana. It instead of driving the two sides towards a peace agreement has driven a wedge between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Palestinians now feel that the United States has broken faith with them.
So instead of bringing a permanent solution and the safety and security of everyone in the region including Israel and the Jewish people there closer, it has pushed that further away. So that's the downside of this historic day. CABRERA: Norman Eisen, thank you so much for joining us.
EISEN: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: Coming up, new calls for the White House to apologize after an aide's ugly remark about Senator McCain's battle with brain cancer.
[18:26:20] CABRERA: Welcome back today. New evidence the president's refusal to apologize has a trickledown effect inside the West Wing. When White House aide Kelly Sadler called Meghan McCain to apologize privately for a reprehensible joke about McCain's father, John McCain, a source familiar with this call said Sadler made a promise that she would apologize publicly, too. Well, that hasn't happened of course.
Senator Lindsey Graham this morning, a longtime friend and ally of McCain's, was asked if he's OK with the White House's relative silence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: No, not really. It's pretty disgusting thing to say. If it was a joke, it was a terrible joke. I just wish somebody from the White House would tell the country that was inappropriate. That's not who we are in the Trump administration.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Should the president himself apologize?
GRAHAM: I'll leave that up to him. But if something happened like that in my office, somebody in my office said such a thing about somebody, I would apologize on behalf of the office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let's discuss. Joining us now Kelly Jane Torrance of the "Weekly Standard" and CNN political analyst and historian Julian Zelizer, also back with us.
Good to have you both here.
Kelly Jane, first to you, do you think any kind of public apology is going to come from the White House?
KELLY JANE TORRANCE, WEEKLY STANDARD: That's a good question, Ana. And I'm not sure. Looks like not. But with the Trump -- with the Trump White House, you never know. He has in the past apologized quite a bit after the fact. And we kind of have to wonder if that apology would even mean anything. We know that President Trump apologized after that terrible "Access Hollywood" tape came out and then months later was heard telling people well, I don't think that was really my voice. I don't think it was me. Well, is he sorry or is he not sorry?
I have to say that the White House really doesn't handle these things well. If they'd just an apology, you know, a sincere one we would hope, and put it out there and move on, this would not still be a story and we would not still be talking about it. But at the same time, you know, Meghan McCain calling for this woman who made the comment to be fired, you know, if everybody got fired after making an ill considered remark, well, really her dad wouldn't have been in Senate for so long. He's sort of had a famous temper.
He himself has made a lot of pretty nasty remarks of people over the years. So I think, you know, everyone deserves one little chance. But yes, it is a lot easier to forgive when the person asks for forgiveness.
CABRERA: Julian, we talk about leadership. We've heard a lot of people say the tone is set at the top. Historically, and when you listen to what Lindsey Graham said, historically what does it say about a president or an administration that doesn't apologize on behalf of something a staffer has said?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It says a lot presidential rhetoric matters. And the rhetoric that comes out of the Oval Office matters. And I think the reason this particular joke grew into a bigger story in part reflects the tenor of the president and he's made many remarks including about Senator McCain that many people thought were pretty nasty. And so I think this says more about the White House and it's not simply a joke and that's why it bothers people and that's why it evokes this response. And I doubt that it's going to change very much.
CABRERA: Kelly Jane, let's talk a little bit about other news this morning. The president's National Security adviser John Bolton saying the president has already been preparing extensively for the upcoming summit with North Korea. The goal of course is for Kim Jong-un to forfeit his nuclear ambitions. The president has a relatively new foreign policy team in place. How is that shaping all of this, do you think?
TORRANCE: Yes. The team is new to him but these are guys who have been working on these issues. For -- some of them a lot of their careers. You know, John Bolton is a very serious guy, he's written and studied these issues a lot.
[18:30:00] I should mention I have edited him in the past, so just getting that disclaimer out there. But he and the others, they know these issues a lot.
Now, of course, their job is to get the President up to speed and to help focus his decision-making. And I have to say, I'm a little worried with some of the stuff I'm hearing coming out of this.
Mike Pompeo, for example, has said that we are going -- the United States will give Kim a security guarantee that we will not push for regime change if he denuclearizes.
Well, I'm not saying the U.S. should push for regime change, but I do wonder, is there any concern in any of these discussions about the people of North Korea? There are about a hundred thousand political prisoners in North Korea
right now. These people are in forced labor camps. The people of North Korea themselves are starving.
And I do wonder if the focus on nuclear weapons, as terrible as they are, is putting out of focus some of the more day-to-day concerns of people living in North Korea.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You mention regime change in North Korea and Pompeo previously advocating that. Also, we'll recall, before entering the White House, John Bolton was pushing for regime change in Iran. And now, as national security adviser, he won't say how he's advising the President. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I have written and said a lot of things over the years when I was a complete free agent. I certainly stand by what I said at the time. But those were my opinions then.
The circumstance I'm in now is that I'm the national security adviser to the President. I'm not the national security decision-maker. He makes the decisions and the advice I give him is between us.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Is it fair to anticipate that the advice you've given is matched with the advice that you gave the United States when you were a free agent?
BOLTON: See my previous answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Julian, how do you interpret those remarks?
JULIAN ZELIZER, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, I think he's trying to explain away the discrepancy between a lot of what President Trump has talked about, limiting American involvement overseas, not getting us into another entanglement.
With having Bolton is an adviser, Bolton is one of the principal figures arguing for an aggressive stance by the U.S., including regime change. And he has been an aggressive voice against the Iran deal.
So it's fair for him to say now I am just an adviser, but advisers bring with them their worldview and their point of view. And I think that's part of what we've seen in the past week. And it's an open question how will he affect North Korea where the country's trying to move in a more diplomatic path.
CABRERA: Do you agree as well, Kelly Jane?
TORRANCE: Yes, you know, it's very interesting. I think that we've already seen the kind of effect that John Bolton has had with the withdrawal from the Iran deal. Now, President Trump mentioned on the campaign trail repeatedly, he wanted to tear it up but he didn't until John Bolton became his national security adviser.
And my understanding from talking to some people is that just his previous advisers didn't want him to withdraw, so they would not give him -- present him with some options for how the United States might do that. And John Bolton did. And that has certainly -- that's certainly, I think, one reason United States withdrew.
And I think the one thing about regime change, as I -- you know, I talked to Rudy Giuliani actually last weekend at an event that I was at that was sponsored by the Organization for Iranian American Communities. And you know, these are Iranian dissidents who want to see a new government there.
And I asked Giuliani about -- he used the words regime change. And he -- that's this even he actually said that the President was also committed to regime change in Iran.
And I asked him, he said that the hope is that it is more like Poland, the Soviet Union, where you do not have foreign governments coming in, bombing, boots on the ground. You want to help the people and inspire the people and make it possible for them to do it from within.
And so I do think when people hear the words "regime change," they think of Iraq. But my impression, at least talking to Rudy Giuliani, who is the President's lawyer and someone who certainly has his ear on a lot of things, that that might not be exactly what people are -- people like John Bolton have in mind.
TORRANCE: I mean, maybe they do, maybe they don't. But that's -- it means a few different things to different people.
ZELIZER: Yes, it was misplaced with Iraq, and that was at the heart of the problem. Many advisers thought just that, and it required a much bigger commitment. And the war unfolded in a bad fashion. So I think that's the controversy.
ZELIZER: And that's the fear about Bolton.
CABRERA: Thank you so much, Julian Zelizer, Kelly Jane Torrance.
CABRERA: I really appreciate you both being here with me.
Coming up, the host of "The Daily Show," Trevor Noah, goes one-on-one with CNN and explains why he thinks President Trump is a paradox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TREVOR NOAH, HOST OF "THE DAILY SHOW," THE COMEDY NETWORK: It's almost like there's an asteroid headed towards the earth but it's shaped like a penis. I think I'm going to die, but I know I'm going to laugh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[18:34:44] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: We're back with an exclusive interview. "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah goes one-on-one with CNN's Brian Stelter, touching on everything from why he thinks President Trump is like an African dictator to how the White House has changed the art of the punch line.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Trevor, thanks for sitting down with me.
NOAH: Thank you again, Brian. Good to see you.
STELTER: Is this starting to feel like home for you now that it's been a few years?
NOAH: I think it's felt like home for a while now. And I think home has been less defined by the space and more the people. I think were it not for the Trump presidency, it may have taken me a lot longer to feel like this was home.
STELTER: And in the few months of the Trump presidency, I know you're writers and you all were scrambling to redo the show at the last minute. Is that still happening 16 months in?
NOAH: Yes, but we don't scramble anymore. Now, we expect it.
[18:40:01] STELTER: Now, you plan for it.
NOAH: Right, so now we plan for the unplannable. We wait for the moment when Wolf Blitzer goes, "breaking news!"
We're waiting for that moment because it happens almost every single day. It's the 5:30 curse, we call it. And so --
STELTER: The 5:30 curse?
NOAH: Yes, the 5:30 curse. Around 5:30, every single day, that's when the news will break.
STELTER: The news about Michael Cohen getting payments from companies, it did break between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. this week.
STELTER: You said Cohen is literally selling swamp tours.
STELTER: Did it surprise you?
NOAH: No, it didn't. I said from the very beginning that Donald Trump reminds me of an African dictator.
And if you know anything about African dictators, the first thing you have to do is follow the money. And you follow the money with the people closest to them -- family members, business associates. All you do is watch for the money.
And I would have been disappointed had we not found out or had Michael Cohen not done this. I'm like, yes, this is following the script. This is what you were meant to be doing as the person who rolls with Donald Trump. You were always going to be finding a way to swindle cash.
And now the question, really, that remains is, did Trump know and did these companies really not get anything? Because I feel like that's a quick way for the story to just disappear -- yes, yes, yes, we paid him. We didn't get anything. Let's move along. Let's move on.
STELTER: When you say follow the money, you sound just like a journalist.
STELTER: It sounds like you bring that idea to this.
NOAH: Well, I think you -- as a person who processes information in the world, good journalists help you think of how to process a story. I think, as a critical thinker, you should be able to do these things beyond journalism, you know.
I think we should be trying to build a population of people that are looking at information, that are reading into information. People who are asking questions that go beyond what they're just told.
STELTER: And where do you see your show fitting into that?
NOAH: Well, it's always evolved, you know. When I started "The Daily Show," I thought our purpose was just to make jokes about what was happening because that's what the world felt like. It was a benign existence under Barack Obama.
I think, as the world comes to change, our purpose in that world changes. And I think that happens not just because of "The Daily Show" but because of how comedy changes in society depending on what is happening to that society.
So when society is experiencing a boon or if it's a wonderful time for people to be alive and there's not much strife, I generally find the comedy will be benign. And it will be, you know, observational and, you know, really light in its touch.
As things become scarier, as the world becomes less secure, as people question, you know, the security that they exist within, that's when comedy becomes more cutting. Because in many ways, it's the release valve to that fear or to that tension.
STELTER: You have some of the same challenges that I have. There might be a dozen stories in a day about Trump or about politics. How do you go about deciding which are worthy of talking about?
NOAH: Well, I break it down into categories. I go, what's newsworthy? What is interesting? What is entertaining? And what is original?
Because I'm going to be on "The Daily Show" every single day of the week, four nights a week, it's nice to vary my material. It's nice to switch things up.
I don't want my audience to tune in every day and feel like they're hearing the same story. And so, you know, as much as I can do, I don't talk about Trump, you know. He makes it extremely difficult as you know.
NOAH: You know, because he -- and I've heard from many people that he purposefully wants to be in news. So it's difficult to avoid that when the person is the President of the United States.
STELTER: All right, really hard last question. Do you have a favorite joke about the President?
NOAH: I think my favorite joke that encapsulates how I observe and process the Donald Trump presidency is this.
NOAH: I say, I wake up most days terrified at the notion that Donald Trump is the most powerful president in the world. I also wake up most days acknowledging that he is also going to make me laugh.
And that's what's difficult for me, is that he's an emotional paradox. And I've come to realize it's like this -- I think it's almost like there's an asteroid headed towards the Earth, but it's shaped like a penis. I think I'm going to die, but I know I'm going to laugh.
STELTER: You're going to die laughing?
NOAH: It could be both.
CABRERA: Our thanks to Brian Stelter for that interview.
Coming up in the NEWSROOM, W. Kamau Bell visits the birthplace of African-American history and the people keeping their culture alive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: So how would you say that the Gullah culture is different than Black culture across the country?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, it's very different.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. BELL: You say that like I don't have enough time to go into that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well --
BELL: Pull up a chair, sit down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[18:44:44] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: On tonight's new episode of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," W. Kamau Bell visits the South Carolina coastline to meet the Gullah Geechee people, a community combining West African traditions with good old southern roots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: The Gullah are fighting to preserve their culture. And like marginalized groups in America, it is always a fight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unfortunately, people would say to me, boy, you're too Geechee. And the reason why they said that is because you need to change. You know, you came from the plantation, you can't get ahead. But we were losing our own culture.
To learn about these people that talk funny, (INAUDIBLE). And so we still carry on those traditions. And if we don't carry it on, it's going the die out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I talk the way I used to talk a long time ago?
BELL: Oh, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. From the plantation?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you know what, I member like yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
[18:50:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I remember it like it was yesterday.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see my great-grandchild holler at me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I say my joint hurt me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My joints hurt.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) go?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where are you going?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to the schoolhouse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Walked out in the yard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I say I had no car.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No car.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I see (INAUDIBLE) crawling, creeping across the yard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Turtle crawling across the yard.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going down to the school, I seen two of them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One was (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One was fat like me and one was skinny.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the language we teach.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's what we do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Well, what beautiful people. W. Kamau Bell is joining us now.
Kamau, you say this episode really showcases the idea that African- American people are not all the same in this country. Tell us more about the Gullah Geechee.
BELL: Well, yes, I mean, I think that their story is very unique, and I don't think you can look around the country and see another group of people have a story like this, especially for Black people.
Because they were primarily located on the sea islands in South Carolina, once slavery ended, they were able to hold on to a lot of their West African culture, invent their own.
They were isolated from a lot of the mainland American culture. White people did not live on the island for the most part. So they were able to come up with their own unique African-American culture.
CABRERA: Many of the members of this community worry their culture is at risk, though, of disappearing. What are the biggest threats they're facing and what are they doing to try to preserve their culture?
BELL: I mean, it's funny. If you look at the entire -- all the episodes of the "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," all seasons, gentrification is one of the themes, and they're dealing with that same thing.
Because these are islands, a lot of resorts moved there, like Hilton Head South Carolina, and they take over and turn them into resort land. And the problem is a lot of the property, which is owned by families, those families don't all have the papers. So people are able to basically come in and scoop up their property and turn this sort of fertile, farm rice land and also all this history into resorts.
CABRERA: So what do they do about it?
BELL: They -- you know, we have to get the word out. I think the -- one of the big things on the show is that we go to communities and we talk to people who feel like they're not being heard.
And so this was a great example of, like, if we value their culture and value -- and know about their culture -- and I've been tweeting about it. A lot of people are like, I've never heard of this.
BELL: They -- that culture will then be looked at as valuable and we will -- not valuable for money but for something that is uniquely American.
CABRERA: I want to get your take on something else, Kamau.
CABRERA: This week, we got a new look at the Facebook ads that were put out by the Kremlin-linked Russian troll group to divide Americans, particularly by race, in the run-up to the election. Here is just a sampling.
There were ads organizing free self-defense classes for African- Americans. They were setting up free legal help for immigrants, yet others organizing anti-immigrant protests. And then there were posts about land being stolen from Mexicans and Native Americans.
What do you think needs to happen so that other countries don't feel like racial divisions are the way they can exploit us here in the U.S.?
BELL: I mean, I think it shows that they know more about our history than many Americans know about our own history. I think that until we actually have -- we just had Trevor Noah on. As you know in South Africa, they had a Truth and Reconciliation
Commission. It didn't solve everything, but it was a way for the country to actually talk about the issues that had divided them.
I think America needs to have that same sort of Truth and Reconciliation Commission to talk about these issues. Until then, we will be available to be trolled.
CABRERA: All right. Kamau Bell, we look forward to your new episode. And as always, we really appreciate you joining us here on the weekend.
BELL: Thank you.
CABRERA: Again, tonight it's his new "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" episode at 10:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN. We'll be right back.
[18:53:22] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: From trade talks with China to big retail reports, CNN's Christine Romans takes a look at what you need to know before the big bell tomorrow morning. Christine?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. The money focus this week is on trade as the Trump administration tries to get more favorable trade rules with China.
The U.S. trade representative will host a public hearing on the $50 billion list of tariffs on Chinese products it unveiled in April. In Washington, business leaders, industry groups, and consumers will testify.
A Chinese delegation arrives this week for another round of trade talks. No breakthroughs during the first meeting, but officials on both sides, hoping to make progress this time around, avoiding a trade war between the world's two largest economies.
Corporate earnings are still rolling in, and this week's includes some big names in retail -- Walmart, Home Depot, and Macy's. Walmart stock is one of the biggest decliners this year on the Dow.
We'll also get a broader reading on just how much money consumers are spending when April retail sales data is released.
Christine Romans, CNN, New York.
CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Glad you're with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
New signs this evening that an explosive eruption could happen at any time on the big island of Hawaii. This weekend alone, new vents have opened up, exposing molten rock beneath the Earth's surface before spewing it up to 100 feet in the air.
Look at these pictures. These are fissures. And people near these vents compare the sound to a jet engine.
Listen to the power. These vents have already destroyed dozens of homes and buildings like this one here. With each new fissure that opens, fear rises that an eruption is imminent.
These aren't eruptions. These are just fissures, think about that.
[18:59:56] If that eruption happens, anyone within 12 miles could be in danger of falling ash. And those closer could be hit by rocks the size of refrigerators. And all of these would take place with basically no warning.