ABC News' Rick Klein: White House 'internal staff shakeups' could actually help Trump

Our expert panel of journalists weighs in on the current state of President Trump's administration as he nears 100 days in office.
7:37 | 04/16/17

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Transcript for ABC News' Rick Klein: White House 'internal staff shakeups' could actually help Trump
??? How are president trump's actions abroad playing on the world stage and affecting his domestic agenda? Joining me in Washington are political director Rick Klein and Jennifer Jacobs, white house reporter for Bloomberg politics. And here in South Korea, Jon than Cheng. You calleded the mizle launch a sign of their confidence in the face of president trump's warning. What do you mean? It shows Kim Jong-un is not going to be cowed when president trump, probably the world's most powerful man has been saying, if you do anything that crosses the line, we're going to act. That hasn't stopped them from Wheeling out what may be as many as three new icbms. It hasn't stopped him from trying to launch -- They're not believing trump's aggressive talk? I don't know that it's not believing. North Korea is a small country wedged between China, Russia, the U.S., Japan. All these powers. The way it's survived in part has been by charting its own course and doing things against the grain. Jennifer, back to you and the word from Washington. A poll out Friday from CBS news that 56% of Americans are uneasy about trump's ability to deal with this. Not a good sign, Jennifer. Yeah, you're right. There is substantial unseize. And, it's -- it's almost like Americans are on a little bit of overload with the bombs on Syria last week. The big bomb if Afghanistan this week. So they're just not sure what trump is thinking on north Korea. They're on overload. I can give you a bit of a window. I know his national security team put together various scenarios based on how they thought that North Korea would behave this weekend and what their reactions would be. I'm told when this missile fizzled right after launch, trump decided quickly to just downplay it. I can tell you a few other quick things. Trump is not into regime change, regime removal for North Korea. He's not thinking about removing Kim Jong-un from power. He's not thinking about trying to unify the two Koreas. That's not on his mind. I'm told, the word kinetic comes up a lot. He's willing to carry out kinetic military action. A Sunday attack. The key thing here, you heard this with generalcmaster, China, China, China. I was told by one adviser the president has said North Korea is a Chinese problem located in north Kia. North Korea. Okay, Rick Klein. All the talk of national security. All we have talked about for a couple of weeks here. Let's go back to the domestic agenda of president trump. He's not making much progress there. Health reform, tax reform, the travel ban stuck in the courts. What's up? If there is a trump doctrine, the president is stumbling into that doctrine. The context is critical. We're coming up on the end of the critical first 100 day period. He's strike out. Nothing going on health care, tax reform, instra fruk chur. None of these things is moving. The hope is that these things are connected. This trump as commander in chief, the actions on the world stage, they're bucking up the mood among Republicans. At least for now. It's tentative. They have given up on trying to figure out what president trump really believes because of the recent shifts in policy and how fast moving these things are. This viewing of president trump as commander in chief, tackling world problems, could have a stillov spillover effect and they could put more points on the board domestically. I want to ask you about the flip fops. Is it the reality of governing? Proeblg just a reality of governing. I mean, one striking thing here is that he's listening to his career staff. He's been almost establishment in his actions and his thinking with this. Pu, you know, his staff had been arguing that these were not shifts so much as concessions in his favor, for example, I was told in his meetings where the nato secretary general, he was very firm, very pushy about wanting more money for defense. More participation in fighting terrorism. He's getting his way on those things. On China, the currency manipulation. New report out from the treasury department saying none of our trading partners could neat criteria right now to be labeled a currency manipulator. He's listening to his career staff right now, which is unusual. Rick, is he listening to Republicans on the hill? To his base? It's quite the time for on-the-job training. Base and Republicans on the hill are two very separate things. If you look at how he's been moving, despite the talk about broken campaign promises, he's moving closer to the main stream of the Republican party. Maybe even the broader, bipartisan main stream about America's role in the world. That heartens a whole bunch of capitol hill Republicans. The people are heart burn over this are the core base. They say what is it with the foreign adventurism? Same for the staff shakeup. The attention on Steve Bannon getting sidelined. There's an interesting twist for the potential for him to be set off to the side. The fact is, a lot of members of congress would privately cheer that. Steve Bannon is not liked widely by members of Republican leadership. Many of them are getting close contacts now and good relationships with Jared Kushner. It kuld be that the internal staff shakeups help president trump. I want to talk to you about here on the Korean peninsula. We started the program that way. End the program in way. What do you expect here next? When I walk around the city, people are not frightened. It's a serious stage. You're right. Is south Koreans are used to this. They have lived in the shah shadow of the north Korean threat for years. They are not used to hearing it from the white house. If you're a south Korean, you're looking at -- a neighbor that is -- perhaps on the verge of something big happening here. It may start there. It may start from Washington. You feel a little bit caught in the cross fire. So they're more nervous when they hear this aggressive talk? I think so. Again, usually, the white house, Washington, has been a reassuring force. I think that's why Mike pence is here in a certain sense to reassure the allies. You have trump, tweeting and -- sometimes going -- quite wild in his rhetoric from one side to the other. It's unclear what exactly he sbepds to do. Does it seem to you, quickly, that he has a red line? Well, I don't know what they red line is. I don't know gnat North Korea has gotten the message either. Think South Korea, here, too, is concerned that nobody knows right where this is. We'll have to watch -- check back in with you again. Thank you for joining us. Thank you to all our panel.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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