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Biden Gives 1st Interview to "The View"; Trump Denies Paying North Korea for Otto Warmbier's Release; Biden Addresses Claims He Made Women Uncomfortable, Apology to Anita Hill; New Season of "United Shades Of America" Premieres Sunday Night. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired April 26, 2019 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: On Monday, you're going to see, at his first official campaign event, he's going to be over in Pittsburgh. That's going to be another event that's focused on the unions, focused on working-class, middle-class concerns. You'll see that theme continue to pick up. That's one of the pillars, the Biden campaign says, is making up his candidacy. But this is certainly something that Biden points back to those blue-collar roots back in Scranton, Pennsylvania, as emblematic of his understanding of the concerns of people across the country.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, guys, for popping back up. I really appreciate it. More to come for sure.

Coming up for us, still, did the United States pay for Otto Warmbier's release from North Korea? The president addressing reports that North Koreans handed over a $2 million bill in order to secure Otto Warmbier's release. What he is saying, the president is saying about this today. And what it means today. That's next.


[11:35:32] BOLDUAN: New this morning, President Trump flatly denying his administration ever paid North Korea money to secure the release of American college student, Otto Warmbier. Listen to the president.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We did not pay money for our great Otto. There was no money paid. There was a fake news report that money was paid. I haven't paid money for any hostage.


BOLDUAN: President Trump is responding to reports that the North Korean regime handed the United States a $2 million bill for the hospital care that Warmbier received when he was held.

Remember, Otto Warmbier was found in a comatose state at the time of his release in June of 2017, after being in North Korean custody for a year and a half. Once he returned to the United States, Otto Warmbier died just days later. There's that video of him being brought off the plane when he arrived. Otto's parents have also maintained that -- they say he was tortured. President Trump, in February, sided with Kim Jong-Un saying that Kim told him he didn't know anything about Otto's treatment.

Joining me is a former Democratic governor, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson. He's negotiated with the North Koreans on many occasions.

Including, your organization was also in the conversation trying to secure Otto's release.


BOLDUAN: Ambassador, if the North Koreans say that they handed the United States a bill for $2 million and asked to sign a pledge they would pay it, for his medical bills, the administration and the president say that that absolutely was not paid, can both be true?

RICHARDSON: I believe the president on this case because it violates our hostage policy of not paying for anything. But I wouldn't put it past the North Koreans to do this. When I negotiated for two American pilots in the '90s, they wanted to charge me and the United States money for the ammunition that shot down the pilots.

BOLDUAN: They have tried this before?

RICHARDSON: They have tried this before. They tried to get us to pay for the remains of our soldiers. You know, this is their outrageous negotiating tactics, to delay, to smother. So I wouldn't put it past them that they handed us an invoice. And hopefully, our diplomats said, OK, the check's in the mail, and we didn't pay it. But I wouldn't put it past the North Koreans.

BOLDUAN: That's actually an interesting point that I do want to ask you. Do you think the United States would essentially -- I don't know, I guess it would be a lie, like, sure, you can give us a bill, sure, we'll pay it, with no intention of paying? Would the U.S. do it that way?

RICHARDSON: Yes, because it's an outrageous request by the North Koreans. You mentioned this, he was comatose. At the very least, the medical treatment that Otto got was terrible, was insufficient. There's some reports about torture. I don't know. But obviously, he came home comatose. He had wonderful parents. But I wouldn't put it past the North Koreans. They always try to nickel and dime you. They have a serious foreign exchange problem. For them, like $2 million is huge. But it's wrong. It violates our no-ransom policy. We shouldn't pay it. I hope we didn't pay it. I'm sure there's an invoice there. I don't know for a fact, but it's a very sad chapter. But this is --


BOLDUAN: In any of your conversations, though, about getting Otto back, was there talk of money?

RICHARDSON: No, there was never talk of money. When we were negotiating, my organization, we sent our director there, Mickey Bergman, to try to get Otto back, in exchange for some humanitarian aid. The North Koreans never told us that he was in a comatose state. This is why I was troubled by the president saying, well, you know, Kim Jong-Un said he didn't know.


RICHARDSON: But nothing happens in North Korea without Kim Jong-Un knowing.

BOLDUAN: That's exactly right. The fact that this is coming out now, I mean, does it say something, do you think, about the state of negotiations or the lack thereof between President Trump and Kim Jong- Un over the nuclear program?

RICHARDSON: Yes, yes. You see what Kim Jong-Un is doing. He's going to Russia, talking to Putin --

BOLDUAN: At a summit.

RICHARDSON: -- trying to get sanctions lifted a little bit on the Russian port. They're mad at us, the North Koreans. They're trying to pressure us to move ahead with negotiations, to back down on our commitment to want full denuclearization. And they're also saying, OK, you know, we were sued by Otto's parents for millions of dollars, so here's a little payback, we're going to say that, where's the $2 million. This is how they negotiate. They don't think like we do. They have their own sometimes warped way of trying to get something in the public eye and in return. And I think it just makes them look bad.

[11:40:26] BOLDUAN: I would say so, to see say the very least.


BOLDUAN: Ambassador, thank you for coming in.

RICHARDSON: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It's great to see you. Thanks for all of your work.


BOLDUAN: Really appreciate it.

Coming up for us, former Vice President Joe Biden is responding to the accusations that he, in the past, has acted around women making them feel uncomfortable in his first interview since joining the 2020 race. What is Joe Biden saying about that? That's next.


[11:45:23] BOLDUAN: All right. More of Vice President Joe Biden sitting down for his first interview after announcing his candidacy to run for president, answering to questions this morning, just now, about, in the past, his encounters with women, touching women that have made them feel uncomfortable, as some women, like Lucy Flores, has described as disrespectful, and as she described, creepy. Let me play this for you right now.


JOE BIDEN, (D), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A woman or a man has a right to say, particularly a woman, to say, no, this is not my space. You shouldn't have to say no. I should be able to read better. But I have never in my life done anything in approaching a woman that has been other than trying to bring -- I'm used to -- like one of your staff, a producer, I'm not sure who it was backstage saying, I remember you're the only guy last time who walked up and got in the audience and talked to people.


BIDEN: I'm used to -- I think it's really important we listen. I think those who are elected officials, it's important they listen and understand what people are going through and what they're concerned about and let them know you know. So I don't think that's old fashioned. I think everybody, we should be doing that. But I have to be more careful. Even including whether I sit down next to somebody and I'm not invited to sit down. So said privately what I said publicly. I am sorry she was treated the way she was treated. I wish we could have figured out a better way to get this thing done. I did everything in my power to do what I thought was within the rules to be able to stop things. But, look, take a look at what's happened. What I did when we got through that god-awful experience she went through -- she's one of the reasons why we have the #metoo movement. She's one of the reasons why I was able --


BIDEN: -- to finish writing the Violence Against Women Act. She's one of the reasons I committed -- there would never be a Judiciary Committee I was involved in that didn't have a woman on it. So I made a commitment that the women would come on the committee. So she is responsible for significant changes, and she deserves credit for it.


BOLDUAN: A couple things there. First, you heard Joe Biden addressing uncomfortable touches of women in the past. Also as you heard clearly there, Joe Biden asked about Anita Hill.

Dana Bash, Jeff Zeleny back with me now.

Let's talk about both of them, but in isolation, if you will.

We expected, Dana, he was going to receive questions about both of these things. The question to him on invading women's personal space and making them feel uncomfortable, as Lucy Flores was the first to come forward, he was asked, from the transcript I see, are you sorry for what you did, are you prepared to apologize to those women. Then that's how he responded.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I'm guessing Lucy Flores is not going to be -- feel that that was enough for her. And people out there who see Joe Biden as somebody, again, who is maybe a relic culturally and this is exhibit A of that, will probably also not be all that satisfied with that answer. On the flip side, he is of a different generation. And he is a specific kind of -- kind of person from that generation who, for whom being a tactile politician, hugging and doing things, you know, kind of physically, was par for the course. Joe Biden has always taken that to the extreme. It's his personality. And Jeff will probably tell you, with men or women, close talking, hugging, and talking very close, even forehead to forehead. I have seen him do it with men and women. It's just not the 2020 way. And that's what he was trying to address. And you know, I think that this is almost going to become maybe a Rorschach Test. The people who want to put it behind them are going to and people who want to use it against them are also going to do that.

BOLDUAN: And, Jeff, we also heard him talk about Anita Hill.


BOLDUAN: And what he said about that. But also, in a broader -- taking both of these comments in just a broader context of, how is Joe Biden doing in answering these questions, because this is not the first time. And how is this big first interview going?

ZELENY: Look, I mean, he's had a long time to think about all of this. He's had a long time to make that phone call to Anita Hill. He said she's -- he's glad she actually accepted his call. But, Kate, from what we have seen from this interview so far, he's not cleaning up any of this. I thought one interesting exchange with Joy Behar, I believe, and the former vice president, he kept saying, "I'm sorry for the way she was treated and I'm sorry she felt she was treated improperly." He would not say, "I'm sorry how I treated her." So this is the Joe Biden who sounds like a Senator, very long-winded. Again, as we said before, if you're explaining, you're losing. I think he'll have to tighten his answer and sort of get better at this. As Dana said, you view this how you view him overall. If it's acceptable, fine. Everyone's not going to vote for him but he doesn't need everyone's vote -- Kate?

[11:50:42] BOLDUAN: But he's working that outreach, especially to the groups we're discussing, represented by Anita Hill and all the women in this big first interview.

Jeff, Dana, thank you so much. I appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: Coming up, President Trump, he's attempting to defend his controversial comments on the violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia. What the president is saying about it now. That's next.


BOLDUAN: April is Autism Awareness Month and, for those with autism, everyday activities like boarding an airplane can be traumatic for them and their families. And 2014 "CNN Hero" Dr. Wendy Ross has spent years working to make daily experiences like that more inclusive. Now, she is expanding her mission, training fellow physicians and staff at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia and finding ways to ensure all patients receive the medical care they need and deserve.


DR. WENDY ROSS, CNN HERO: Hi. How are you?

Hi, Alex.


Patients coming in on the spectrum may have a more difficult time communicating and, without doctors that can understand how to interact with them, they're not going to get appropriate health care.

Some of the accommodations that our program provides are noise canceling held phones, things like fidgets to help reduce their anxiety. We are really providing autism-friendly health care.


[11:55:00] BOLDUAN: To learn more about Wendy's groundbreaking new program or to nominate a "CNN Hero," go to right now.


BOLDUAN: This morning, President Trump is defending his comments following the deadly violence that broke out in Charlottesville, Virginia, after that white supremacist rally. Yes, those comments from way back when, the comments that he said, quote, "There are very fine people on both sides." You will never forget that.

Now he is framing today -- just this morning, he is framing those remarks like this.


TRUMP: That question was answered perfectly. And I was talking about people that went because they felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee, a great general. People were there protesting the taking down of the monument of Robert E. Lee. Everybody knows that.


BOLDUAN: No, they don't.

Kamau Bell, the host of CNN's "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," is here with me now.

Kamau, the new season is coming up, starting this weekend.


BOLDUAN: Everybody knows that and they should know that.

BELL: Yes.

BOLDUAN: But race and white supremacy are something you've taken on very directly in your work.

BELL: Yes.

BOLDUAN: What do you think when you hear the president -- at one point, I was saying cleaning up his remarks, but just defending his remarks.


BOLDUAN: It's not a cleanup at all.


BELL: That's putting a light on his remarks to remind us how bad they were.

This episode this season, "UNITED SHADES," a couple of episodes that address racism and white supremacy. One is called "Not All White People," and it's about white people who hear other white people say things like that and be like, if I'm a good person, I have to do something, I have to engage in the act of dismantling white supremacy because, otherwise, white people like that get all the attention. He gets a lot of attention because he's the president. But other white people hear that and say, oh, that makes sense, of course, Robert E. Lee was a good general. So we meet with, in Seattle, the John Brown Gun Club. John Brown, who was a white man, took action to save black people during slavery. And the John Brown Gun Club is white, liberal, progressive people, inclusive, friendly to the world, who also are Second Amendment gun advocates. So when situations like Charlottesville show up, they show up with their guns to defend the protesters in Charlottesville.

BOLDUAN: It's amazing how appropriate and timely -- those episodes are important regardless.

BELL: Yes.

BOLDUAN: But the fact that it is right back in front of us is really an amazing and startling thing the president would say that.

You also, in your first episode, taking out mega churches.

BELL: Yes.


BELL: And Franklin Graham helped to make that timely yesterday.

BOLDUAN: Really.

BELL: Mega churches are sort of the face of Christianity right now. But specifically a style of mega churches, you know, Franklin Graham, Joel Osteen, sort of the personality-driven model of church that, as we talk about in the episode, the pastor says it feels more like a rock concert than a motivational speech and sometimes the message of Jesus gets muddle and sometimes completely perverted to tell people to do things and vote for people who Jesus would not vote for, as I would say. We actually look at several different mega churches. There's actually a church called Cathedral of Hope, which is an LGBTQ-plus mega church, opened by a gay man. Which he'd have a lot to say to Franklin Graham about how gay people need to repent. And we have a mega church hosted, led by Pastor Haynes who is doing an MLK version of church and social justice.

BOLDUAN: It's really amazing. And your take on it always is what I always wait for the most.

Great to see you, Kamau.