tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN August 20, 2017 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
miguel, one of many reporters and crews we have spread throughout the country to catch this once in a lifetime event. thanks for watching so much this afternoon be sure to stick around as we prepare to hear from the president tomorrow night at 9:00 eastern time. expecting a decision on afghan troop levels right here on cnn. you can watch it, but for now, cnn newsroom continues with anna cabrera. hello, you are in the cnn newsroom. we begin with a major announcement from the white house. this major address comes as brand new polling reveals the president is underwater in some key states that propelled him to the white house. wisconsin, pennsylvania and michigan his approval rating
doesn't even top 34%. hoping to boost support, the president is holding a campaign style rally in phoenix, arizona even though local officials are warning against it. authorities have asked the president to cancel this event for fear it could lead to violence. i absolutely think it's inappropriate to be holding a political rally a few days after an innocent woman was mowed down by a neo-nazi. it's throwing tinder on an already burning fire. >> what can you tell us about the deliberations leading up to this big decision on afghanistan? >> this is something that the president tweeted about yesterday, he was alluding to some important decisions that were made in a meeting with top military brass at camp david on
friday, and he included in that tweet that a decision had been made on afghanistan. this is something the white house had been working on for several months, very different options on the table here. everything from a surge in troops, something that john mccain of arizona supported to a complete withdrawal, or even potentially as former white house chief strategist steve bannon argued for, a shifting of responsibilities to private companies, mercenaries so to speak. beyond all of that, second of defense james mattis was asked earlier today, what the decision ultimately was on afghanistan. he decided not to step on the president's toes and let him explain the decision for himself. here's more from secretary mattis. looks like we don't have that sound ana, but he essentially said he wanted the president to explain the decision himself. interestingly he also noted this
wasn't just a strategy on afghanistan, but this was a full south asia strategy, to put this decision into context, this is the longest war in american history, dating back to fall of 2001. you'll recall that in 2014, president obama declared an end to all combat operations there. fast forward to february of this year when the commander of troops in afghanistan said that the united states and afghan troops had essentially reached a stalemate with the taliban. it will be interesting to see how president trump moves forward from this. >> sadly, we continue to lose american lives there. just this week, in fact. is there any sign the white house may be heeding some of the warnings from officials there? >> no sign yet, anna. a lot of this criticism against
the president follows last tuesday's off the rails press conference that the president received a lot of harsh criticism for. you mentioned the mayor of phoenix asking the president to delay this event. others not going quite as far. but asking the president to have a more inclusive tone in his message, including ohio governor and former presidential candidate john kasich, he was on state of the union with jake tapper earlier today, here's what he said. >> you're going to go to phoenix and make a speech, fine, that's your right, you can go there, he has free speech like the rest of us have it, but when you go, try to use that as an opportunity to say something that's going to bring people together. you might recall, when he delivered that speech to the congress, the day after, the people on cnn said well tonight donald trump became president. he has it within him, if he can maintain discipline, he has it within him to overcome this and move forward.
>> all eyes will be on the president, not only tomorrow night at 9:00 when he delivers that address detailing the plan forward for afghanistan, but also on tuesday night when he holds a rally in phoenix. anna? >> boris sanchez in bridgewater, new jersey for us. i was in phoenix a little over a year ago last june here reporting for cnn when then candidate trump held a rally there. i want to show you one of the reasons officials might be concerned about emotions boiling over. this is what trump the candidate arrived to 4r569 year, a giant inflatable likeness of him wearing a kkk robe, this was last year, his visit tuesday comes one week after he doubled down on that initial charlottesville comment drawing a moral equivalency between white supremacists and counter protest protesters.
sarah, what is the political calculation to go forward with this rally despite the safety concerns? >> for president trump, rallies have been a way for him to regain control of his message at times when he feels like it's starting to spin out of control. president trump has the opportunity to trumpet his accomplishments he often feels like the media doesn't cover what his administration has been able to achieve. the white house may be taking a calculated risk that whatever blow back it gets from pardoning sheriff arpaio, that can't possibly be as bad as the backlash over charlottesville. that may explain at least the timing of the arpaio pardon. it doesn't necessarily have to be now, the sheriff hasn't even been sentenced yet, all of this may are a calculated risk from the white house to get out of the hole that they dug with charlottesville and try to move
on to something else. >> of course that pardoning has been thrown out there. that's not confirmed at this point. john, take a look at the new poll, this was taken after charlottesville, the majority of voters in three key states simply don't approve of the job he's doing. i want to play for you what tim scott said president trump needs to do next. >> we need our president to sit down with folks who have a personal experience a deep connection to the horror and pain of this country's provocative history. if the president zwants a better understanding for what he should do next, he needs to hear something from folks who have gone through this painful history. without that personal connection to the painful past, it will be hard for him to regain that moral authority from my
perspective. >> john, a large and impercental campaign style rally with his base really what the president needs to do next? why not visit one on one with the americans who aren't his base, but are the fabric of this country that he represents? >> i think going to arizona is a great idea for the president, as those polls indicate you just referenced, he's had a rough week, he goes into these campaign rallies and lights um the room like a christmas tree. there's one thing we learned from the president obama administration, particularly with the battle over health care, where he passed it with nothing but democratic votes, zero republican votes. that is this. the political calculation of success in a deeplidy vited america is to make sure that your team sticks with you. and the fact that he's under water now in states that he won in the november election means he needs to pull the base back together. and the trump base loves sheriff joe arpaio, to go to arizona and
give him a pardon, i think would be a great shot in the arm for president trump. >> is that going to unite the people in this country who are hurting? >>. >> it's going to unite his base. if those poll numbers are accurate, that means he's losing people who voted for him in the november election. he needs to pull those people back in and this rally will help him do that. >> maria, do you agree? >> no, absolutely not, i do agree that it will ignite his base, and that is certainly what he desperately needs. but i think it is a calculated risk to go there, but i think it's stupidity on his part. here's the thing, he doesn't care. it would be smart for this president to try to seek beyond his base, and unite americans. unite all of those communities
who have been fearful from the day he stepped into the oval office, and with good reason. african-americans, muslims, latinos, the lgbt community. but guess what, this president doesn't care about them, he has been very clear, even from the campaign. that he does not care about communities of color. he does not care about the people who do not go to his rally. that's why he's going to phoenix, it's like a security blanket for him. he's under water right now, not just nationally, but in the three midwestern states that gave him the presidency, he's at record low approval ratings, the generic congressional ballot democrats are leading by 10 points nationally and more in these three midwestern states. he knows that, he's in trouble, this is a president in crisis. he lacks moral leadership, and he's doing nothing to convince
the majority of americans who did not want him to be in the white house that he still wants to be their president as well as those who come to his rallies. >> sarah, why do you think he's losing support among those states and the voters and the states that voted for him? >> i think when you look into the frustrations that members of his base who have spoke tonight media have expressed. it usually does not have to do with his inflammatory tweets or whatever controversy is preoccupying washington. people are frustrated that trump's agenda is not getting done. he's not making any progress on the border wall. the attempt to repeal obama care failed spectacularly. they're not making progress on the travel ban which got tied up in the courts. everything he promised has been stopped by his own party. because of that, you have seen a
sharp decline in his base. you've seen this as his own voters become convinced that the republican agenda is not going to get done as quickly as he promised them. >> thanks to all of you, we appreciate it. >> more fiery rhetoric from north korea, aimed directly at the u.s. we'll tell you what the regime is threatening now. and president trump said to announce a new strategy in afghanistan tomorrow. we'll discuss live in the cnn newsroom. pain used to shut me down during pick-up games.
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tensions could not be higher on the korean peninsula with president trump's fire and fury comment. even threatening the u.s. territory of guam last week, secretary of defense james mattis says the joint drills are purely defensive in nature. >> they're very transparent, just to avoid miscalculation. north korea knows this is a wholly defensive for whatever they may say for public consumption. they know this is a defensive exercise, it's been going on for decades. i mean, the name has changed over the years, it's the same exercise that's been going on. it's calculated to not allow for miscalculation. the people of pan are paying close attention to this rhetoric. what is the reaction there? there's concern.
i mean, this as you point out is an annual event. it's something that triggers the north korean cycle all over again. as if on cue, north korea released a statement on the state run newspaper. here's one small statement. the trump's group declaration of the nuclear exercises against the dprk is a reckless behavior driving it into a nuclear war. if there's any sign of a preventative war, north korea would respond. these statements quite alarming, especially considering the drill is beginning today and going on for 10 days. this is fairly typical rhetoric
from north korea, this particular threat is directed at the united states. yes, names president trump but isn't as specific as that last guam threat. >> any sign that north korea is readying another ballistic missile test or a nuclear test of some sort? >> you know, that's something everyone is watching for. it's a lot of hot air from north korea a lot of times. it's flowery, very big. as far as what is happening on the ground. that will be the real measure of whether or not the situation here is getting worse or it is getting better. last year after the drills took place, north korea launched a missile shortly after the drills ended. that's what all the military experts are looking for.
there are no explicit signs that something is imminent. >> north korea taking away a lot of the u.s. military attention right now. president trump has made a big decision on afghanistan. we expect to find that out tomorrow night, when the president addresses the nation at 9:00 p.m. eastern. president trump wants the details to come straight from him. >> i was not willing to make significant troop lifts until we made certain we knew what was the strategy, what was the commitment going in. in that regard, the president has made a decision as he said, he wants to be the one to announce it to the american people, so i'll stand silent until then, until that point. >> our global affairs correspondent elise lab ott is here to pick all this apart. a decision has been made, but no word on what the decision is.
what do we know about the options the president was contemplating. >> you saw the president tweet after that big meeting on friday with his top national security advisers that a decision has been made. now, the options run the gamut, you remember back in february, the commander of the u.s. forces in afghanistan, general nicholson had asked for a few thousand troops, now the options run anything from a full withdrawal to that small modest bump in troops, maybe 3 to 5,000, a proposal that's been floated by the former ceo of black water to use mercenaries or private contractors which i think is unlikely to fly. but i think what we're talking about is a modest bump in troops that doesn't really see a strategic change and pretty much what we're seeing in afghanistan right now, a little extra to help the afghan national army break what the general had called a stalemate with the taliban. >> one person not in the room
when president trump made that decision was steve bannon. he's out of the picture, so what do you think that means from what happens in afghanistan, and really bigger picture the direction this president takes foreign policy. >> he was a proponent of that proposal to use mercenaries or private contractors, i think the u.s. military was loathed to have something like that happen. steve bannon was really an opponent of very strong american engagement overseas. he was a nationalist. i think what you've seen is people like general mcmaster like secretary mattis, secretary tillerson, they're called globalistings by some people in the white house and by trump supporters, i would say they're people that are more in favor of a strong u.s. ingaugement around
the world. >> i want to ask you about the comments made by rex tillerson this week in the wake of charlottesville. here's what he said. >> we do honor, protect and defend freedom of speech. first amendment rights, it's what sets us apart from every other government regime in the world. and allowing the people the right of expression. these are good things, we do not honor, nor do we promote or accept hate speech in any form. those who imbrace it -- >> unlike the president, he was direct in condemning hate speech and the people who embrace it. he has made it a priority to increase diversity in the state department. you cover the state department day in and day out, how revealing were those comments. >> i've been covering secretary
tillerson since he started. that was one of the strongest set of remarks he's made in what secretary tillerson has been doing over the last six months or so is trying to reform and redesign the state department. and aids tell me while he's been doing that, he's been taking a long look and thinking about what should america represent overseas. it should look like the face of america which is diverse, which does believe in freedom and freedom of speech. what happened in charlottesville dove tailed with what secretary tillerson has been trying to determine the mission of the state department. that was his answer to charlottesville. this is not a nation of hatred or bigotry. we promote freedom, free speech,
and we want to represent that overseas is what he was speaking in those remarks to student interns. it was revealing about what he thinks the u.s. is and what it should represent to countries around the world. >> i thought it was interesting to see him say he wants at least one minority candidate to be part of all these openings they're looking to fill. >> including ambassadors. >> elise, thank you. american officials with news today out of cuba, remember that mysterious sonic weapon attack there? the number injured may be growing. more people were attacked than initially thought. it's believed a high-tech weapon was used to blast sounds that human ears can't pick up, but are capable of medical problems. >> what are the details you've learned, patrick?
>> the list of diplomats is growing, and, of course, let's back up, what's a sonic weapon? a device that emilts a frequency that you can't hear, but can give you headaches, make you nauseous and give you hearing loss. american diplomats and canadian diplomats were subject to some kind of attack using a sonic weapon here, what we've learned today is the number of those diplomats is growing, about twice as many as we had initially thought, so 10 u.s. diplomats and family members we're told by two senior u.s. officials were affected and about five canadians and some of their family members were affected. we're getting a better idea of when this took place. on the u.s. side it began in november we're told, and went on into the spring. the canadian diplomats were attacked in june.
this would have taken place during the time the cuban authorities were made aware of th this. the attacks had continued even though the u.s. and canadians had complained. i'm told it was similar to hearing a loud insect buzzing. and these diplomats, if they left the room, the symptoms stopped almost immediately. some of the attacks occurred late at night. we don't know who was behind the attacks. the exact weapon used. a lot of the mystery here continues. a lot investigators still don't know about a very unusual case. >> very scary, patrick, thank you for that report. liberty university alumni
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north korea backing down, bold truthful statement about charlottesville tragedy. so proud of donald trump. a day later he attempted to collar phi by tweeting the truth as stated by donald trump is that violent white supremacists are pure evil and unamerican, and today a third clarification. >> the bold and toothful statements i was referring to were histhness to call the evil groups out. that's something a leader should do, i admire him for that. president trump isn't something we've had in a long time, he's substance over form. so many of our politicians, recent leaders and national leaders have been form over substan substance. they tell people what they want to hear, they sugar coat everything. the american people have gotten
sort of thin skinned and i think they need to listen to the substance of what he said. >> back in january of 2016, fallwell became one of the early leaders to endorse trump. at a time when people were expressing concern over president trump's multiple marriages. steve mnuchin is standing by the president, even as hundreds of his former yale classmates are urging him to resign. mnuchin is a jewish member of the cabinet. he issued a full throated defense of the president. i find it hard to believe i should have to defend myself on this or the president. i feel compelled to let you know the president in no way shape or form believes that neo-nazi or hate groups are equivalent to
other parties that oppose prejudice. rabbi thanks for spending time with us. do you think the pressure being put on mnuchin and other jewish members of trump's staff is fair? >> i don't know about that, but i know what my opinion is very clearly. i do not think the president did the right thing, he first of all, in his first statement should not have mentioned the stock market and jobs. when you're facing the greatest tragedy that we have, nazis and the klan marching in the halls of america 75 years after the holocaust. that was a big mistake, and i think he knows it. >> what would you do if you were a member of his staff right now? >> i don't know the
circumstance. i would criticize. i think that if they should speak their conscience. certainly, it wasn't handled right, i don't think anybody will argue that. when the president of the united states comes out, and this is the first time he's speaking about it and he begins his conversation by telling us about jobs and then addresses this. and then makes the comparison that the demonstrators on the other side, they were both wrong. that is quite preposterous. >> i want to get your reaction to this exchange. >> no doubt about it, and you don't have any doubt about it -- >> but mr. president. >> and -- >> if you reported it accurately you would say -- >> the neo-nazis started this, sir. they showed up in charlottesville. they showed up in charlottesville to protest -- >> excuse me. >> you had some very bad people
in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides, no, sir, the nazis there are no fine people in the nazis. >> you had people -- >> so rabbi, as you watch or hear those comments. what's going through your mind? >> well, what's going through my mind is that all human beings are falible. ronald reagan went to bitburg, it's a cemetery where the ss are buried. president trump should have been unequivocal, he made a mistake, and let's hope he learned from it. >> what would learning from it look like? >> never repeating that again. if i were giving him advice, i would apologize for that, and go forward. look, we have a lot of issues in the world, and we don't want
america 75 years after 400,000 g.i.'s gave their lives to liberate europe from naziism, to have to replay the klan and naziism in the heartland of america. >> i know what he's planning to do going-forward at this point. he was the scene last summer when then candidate trump was greeted by protesters and this giant mockup of him wearing a kkk gown. i was on the ground at this time. immigration and race issues are hot issues in this part of our country. this time around, the phoenix mayor is expressing concern if the president comes there, after charlottesville, it could spark something that could become violent. if the president goes forward with this, what message does that send?
>> well, let me say this. if the president would ask me what he should do in phoenix, i would tell him, condemn the nazis in the klan and never mention the other demonstrators. make it clear they are not the same. >> thank you for your remarks and your time tonight. >> thank you. coming up, tomorrow millions of americans will be able to see the first total solar eclipse visible across the country this century. we'll speak to one man who has a word of warning for those trying to catch a glimpse with the naked eye. you're live in the cnn newsroom. talk to your doctor, and call 844-214-2424. ronoh really?g's going on at schwab. thank you clients? well jd power did just rank them highest in investor satisfaction with full service brokerage firms... again.
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a member of martin and lewis. he was a member of the rat pack. lewis is perhaps best known for tugging at the heartstrings of millions of americans during his annual labor day telethon for the muscular dystrophy celebration. it ran for about 44 years and raised nearly 2 $1/2 billion for the cause. american television icon tick cavitt who knows lewis personally joins us now. >> when was the last time you saw jerry lewis? >> the very last time was at the most recent turner classic movie festival. i had to leave, but i went down to say hello to him before he went on. he was bright and funny, and seemed to be here for the long run. well, he was for the long run. 91 years old, amazing, really.
>> i just wrote a tweet about him. a little late maybe, but saying i'll miss you, man. you were not only fun to work with, but you paid me to write for you proving you really do have a zany streak. johnny carson said, when he knew i had this job, what can you write for jerry lewis? i said, well, you know when he comes out and goes heh-heh-heh-heh? i wrote that. >> tell us more about his personality off camera. >> off camera he was often quite serious. it would surprise and disappoint people, kids would come up to him on the street and he would say hello to them formally, and they'd say do something funny. generally he was a man with a serious side.
he had inadequacies that he was humble and aware of. i remember once using a word he didn't know in his office, he took out a notebook and write it in his improve my vocabulary note work. >> modern audiences may not remember the movies and sketches that made him famous. jim carrey and jimmy kimmel described him as a genius. >> i think they're right. i see it as in his earliest days there were three huge explosions. hiroshima, nag ga saggy and jerry lewis exploded into the world of comedy, it was spectacular. dick cavitt, thanks for helping
us remember a comedy great and somebody who's done so much for this country. especially through his philanthropy work. thanks for being with us tonight. >> you got it. what are all these different topped & loaded meals? it's an american favorite on top of an american favorite, alice. it's like rodeos on top of rollercoasters. get your favorites on top of your favorites. only at applebee's. get your favorites on top of your favorites. it survived 4 food fights,ew but old, home: a one-coat wonder named "grams", and rolled with multiple personalities. number one rated marquee interior. behr's most advanced one-coat hide paint.
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it's a rare opportunity for millions of americans. on monday, a little over 24 hours from now, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible had the mainland u.s. for the first time since 1979. 99 years since a solar eclipse crossed the entire u.s. and 60% of americans living in states that lie in the direct path of this ecollapse plan to catch this historic event according to a cnn poll. half of americans nationwide kplan to experience it in some way and hopefully will take precautions. learned the hard way, louis was injured doing a partial eclipse. thanks for spending time with us. you were a teenager when hurt back in the 1960s. take us back and walk us through what happened. >> well, i was going to marshal high school, 1963. science teacher said after school will be an ecrips of the
sun athe -- eclipse of the sun i thought i'd take a look at it walking home from school with my friend roger. about 3:30 in the afternoon, we both stopped, looked up at the sun. took about 20 seconds, we looked at it, saw the moon crossing into the face of the sunday and then we quit looking at it and walked our mile home. and the next day, there was little spots -- and then it lasted for 50-some odd years now, since that injury took place, so did it hurt your eyes when you were looking at it? or simply some of your vision just was blurry and spotty and that happened so much later, you didn't even realize it at the time when you were looking at it that it was doing damage? >> yes. and the human eye, the outer surface of the human eye, like when you poke your eye, is very sensitive. the back of the eye, the retina,
has no pain sensors, and so when those rays are going in there, they're birning a hole in the re retina and you don't even know it. >> that is just wild. what can you see and can't you see now all of these years later? >> well, roger and i were very lucky that we burned just one eye. the people that looked with one eye then switched over to the other eye, they have a spot in both eyes where they probably can't drive a car. roger and i with both eyes opened, can see perfectly normal. if we shut our good eye, then we can't even read a book. >> wow. what do you want people to know before tomorrow's eclipse? >> well, i want them to be safe. myself, i'm going to go out and enjoy the eclipse, but i'm not looking up at the sun with or without glasses. i'm going to enjoy just seeing
shadow coming and it getting dark. some of these glasses are on recall now. i heard of people breaking glass and spray painting it black and going to look through it. it's not worth it with your eyes. you only get two eyes and they're very delicate little instruments. >> yes. >> and so they've got to really be careful. i'm worried about the children. the glasses slipping off of them. is tuesday morning going to be the big news story? millions blinded by the solar eclipse? that's my worst fear. >> well, we certainly hope not. of the danger and hopefully people take those precautions. our day care for the youngest is planning to keep the kids inside all day tomorrow because of that fear of what could happen. thanks for shares your story with us. >> thanks for spreading the word. >> all right. have a great weekend. now, in this week's "fit nation," a transgender scientist makes history.
cnn's dr. sanjay gupta has her story. >> cycling offered me a sense of stability in my life. i worked through every life situation on my bike. >> reporter: jillian bearden is an elite cyclist, but her ride hasn't been easy. >> i was born male, as jonathan paul bearden, having this identity going on in your mind, you struggle on a daily basis. >> reporter: to cope, jillian turned to cycling and began competing in the male circuit, but her struggle with her identity persisted. >> i was contemplating suicide, to want to kill yourself when you have children, when you have a wife, that's a hard decision to make, but that's how dark it is. >> reporter: jillian decided to tell her family and with their support began transitioning. jillian worked with officials at usa cycling and after months of talks and hormonal tests granted her a license to race as a
female. >> finally on that woman's team i've always longed for. >> reporter: now she's about to compete in her first professional cycling race as a woman. the colorado classic. >> this race is important, because i'll be the first transwoman athlete in the united states to race in the pro field. >> whew! >> caller: the colorado classic is a two-day team cycling event that draws some of the top cy e cyclists in the world. >> you have 83 other riders hitting speeds of 42 miles an hour, it's a crazy thing. >> reporter: jillian qualified in time to qualify for the second race. a grueling race in breckenridge, colorado. at an elevation of almost 10,000 feet. >> it's going to be intense and really hard, but i'm just -- really blessed to be able to participate in this. >> reporter: the steep hills prove tough, and jillian fell behind the pack. still, she pushed through to the end.
out of 74 riders, jillian came in 34th. >> it felt amazing. i've won the race already. i'm alive. i am my true self. and that's the best race there is. >> announcer: "fit nation" around the world in eight races. brought to you by -- is lloyd. to prove to you that the better choice for him is aleve. he's agreed to give it up. ok, but i have 30 acres to cover by sundown. we'll be with him all day as he goes back to taking tylenol. yeah, i was ok, but after lunch my knee started hurting again so... more pills. yep... another pill stop. can i get my aleve back yet? for my pain... i want my aleve. get all day minor arthritis pain relief with an easy open cap.
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