tv New Day Saturday CNN October 21, 2017 5:00am-6:00am PDT
sergeant la david johnson was found nearly a mile away from the central scene of the ambush. u.s. military does not leave its troops behind. >> the war is morphing. you're going to see more actions in africa, not less. >> the military dictatorship. that appears to be what the white house thinks the united states is. >> if you want to get into a debate with a four star marine general, i think that's highly inappropriate. >> even for someone that is that empty barrel, stunned. >> if you don't understand that reference, i'll put it a little more simply, as we say in the south, all hat, no cattle.
>> there is a credibility issue with the president. now, there's a possible credibility issue with the chief of staff. >> isis no longer rules here. once again, they've left behind a city scarred by their occupation. good morning, everyone, i'm diane gallagher in for christi paul. and i'm martin savidge in for victor blackwell. final good-byes today for a soldier who sacrificed his life to isis. sergeant la david johnson just 24 years old laid to rest today in his hometown. >> we was found a mile away from his team, and there are questions why his body was roughered just two days after the three other soldiers who were killed in the attack as well. >> this, as the white house
stands by its attacks by fr fredricka wilson said. and john kelly was outraged that johnson was even listening, even though she knew johnson and his family personally. >> meanwhile, steve bannon has delivered a blistering attack on former president george w. bush and whether or not he fully even grasped the nature of the speech he gave on trump nationalism earlier this week. trump saying he was surprised that his chief of staff john kelly was offended after a fellow lawmaker criticized his phone call to a gold star family. we're joined by jeremy diamond. >> that's right, the president explaining he was very surprised to hear congresswoman wilson's account of the phone call he had
with the widow of sergeant la david johnson. the president for the first time talking about his chief of staff and his reaction to that phone call. >> he was so offended because he was in the room when i made the call, so were other people. and the call was a very nice call. he was so offended that somebody would be listening to that call. he was -- he actually couldn't believe it. actually, he said to me, sir, this is not acceptable. this is really not -- any more, i was so nice -- look, i've called many people. and i would think that every one of them appreciated. i was very surprised to see this, to be honest with you. >> the president in that interview also continuing to push back against congresswoman's wilson's account of the call, insisting that he did in fact mention sergeant la david johnson's name during that phone call. that's despite the fact that sergeant johnson's mother, the
woman who raised him said that congresswoman wilson's account was very accurate. the appearance of general kelly in the room that was to push this controversy aside. to try and turn the page. but instead it did just the opposite because of the inaccurate claims that wilson gave back in 2015, the white house continued to defend chief of staff kelly's remarks inconsisting that chief of staff kelly was indeed accurate, at least in his portrayal of congresswoman wilson, despite the fact he got some of those facts wrong. press secretary sarah huckabee sanders yesterday in the white house briefing room defending john kelly, suggesting that the press should not be questioning a retired four star marine general. however, yesterday, she put out a statement that far briefing, saying it was perfectly appropriate to question anybody. >> all right, jeremy diamond in
washingtons at the white house, thank you. >> that gives us so much to discuss now. april ryan is joining us. she's cnn's political analyst and white house correspondent for american urban video networks and josh rogin, a cnn political columnist for "the washington post" good to see you both this morning. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> april, let me ask you this, the statement that came from the white house press secretary, jeremy just alluded to it. but it drew a lot of attention. just listen. >> i think he's addressed that pretty thoroughly yesterday. >> well, yesterday, he was talking about getting the money -- >> if you want to go after general kelly, that's up to you. but i think if you want to get into a debate with a four star marine general, i think that's highly inappropriate. >> you could tell that she was trying to shut the conversation down there. but it did not come out the right way. i'm wondering what's your reaction, april? >> well, one, general kelly gave
information that they're still standing behind. so, if they're standing behind this information, show you us the information for proof. no one is trying to debate. no one is trying to get into a match with general kelly. we just want answers to the situation that's getting more and more complicated. and more controversy surrounding the deaths of these four soldiers. particularly on a day when you have a funeral of lal david johnson. also, you have to remember, i was thinking about something you said earlier. you have to remember that when the congresswoman -- i'm going back to the congresswoman, because they're trying to discredit her. the congresswoman heard the conversation. you have to remember the master sergeant in the car received the call from the white house, he put the call on speaker phone for all to hear. so it wasn't that the congresswoman was trying to find out what was going on or
eavesdropping. this was a call that everyone in that call heard. and the white house is trying to discredit this woman and giving information that is making people question their information. so it's say he said/she said situation but at the same time, you have a lot of people who are standing behind the congresswoman including the congressional black caucus who say they're going to fight for her, because this is not right. >> he said/she said over what has to be one of the most painful conversations a person could ever have. josh, apart from being in line with the white house, again looking as though it contradicting the president's own twitter. he criticizes general dempsey, martin allen and even colin powell. so did the press secretary overstep in trying to make a point here? >> i think it's clear that the
general kelly can issue an apology. the greater issue that you're speaking to is we've got an administration chockful of generals and former generals. we can't have a situation where their status and supervise shields them from scrutiny and basic oversight. that's just untenable. and if that's an argument that sarah huckabee sanders is making it is not only going against years of democratic tradition. going begins the president's own actions before he was president. but, you know, it's just not a workable solution for the relationship for this government and the press. you know, it's the president's choice to fill this administration with generals and former generals. it was those generals and former generals' choice to become political in their own roles. and those are fine choices but that doesn't shield them from press scrutiny. from press scrutiny, from criticism, especially when
they're making statements and especially if the statements turn out to be wrong. >> general kelly, i have deepest respect for him, including the sacrifices he's made in being a gold star family as well. speaking out at the white house, very powerful, but brings what appears to politicize it at the very end. the very thing he seems to have been criticizing -- it just seems to have damaged his reputation. i wonder if you feel he's not the same in your eyes? >> you know, general kelly was very pointed at the very beginning describing in detail, in graphic detail, about how fallen soldiers got back home. and how they're prepared for their family to receive them. when they you can receive them. that was poignant. but when he went down that line, there have been questions about this administration's credibility from the president on down.
and now he's got into the fray. and if they're still standing by it, in order for this chief of staff, this new chief of staff, to regain his credibility, they're going to have to show us what indeed they had to support this claim, to continue to support this claim when we're finding video showing otherwise. i think that's one of the ways that, you know, we would not question his credibility. but right now, he's standing right in the light of this president whose credibility has been questioned, come into question, on numerous occasions. and it's unfortunate. >>. >> he is the chief of staff. >> right. >> this is just an issue that goes nowhere. i mean, i understand why people are caught up it in emotionally, but really there are so many other things this nation needs to debate. >> especially what happened that fateful day in niger when four americans lost their lives. that's how this got started. the reason this came a controversy in the first place for two weeks, almost, the
president of the united states didn't say anything about the deaths. we know there was some internal debate and decision not to talk about them. we know there's been a lot of confusion about what happened that day. and we still don't have those answers. so, it's hypocritical for the administration to constantly criticize the press for, you know, distracting us from that core issue. while essentially trying to distract us from that core issue. so, they really undermine their own strategy here. they're talking sort of out of both sides of their mouth. and, you know, i think that everybody could find a way out of this sorted of superficial debate over, you know, what is not a phone call, but by focusing on the deaths of those four americans. and figuring out what happened that day. >> yeah. we have to leave it there. thank you both for bringing it right around where it needs to be. april ryan and josh rogin. >> thank you.
the u.s. soldier killed in the ambush in niger, we're learning now details on just where his body was found, 48 hours after three our soldiers. and this is all as senator lindsey graham warns more operations are come. we're live in africa, with details on this growing war on terror, next. and gop lawmakers are hashing out a new tax plan after house speaker paul ryan says they will propose a new tax rate for the rich. also, steve bannon blasted former president george w. bush at the california gop last night. his rant comes against the gop establishment but it ask courting or helping the party? we're going to discuss it. >> there's not been a more destructive presidency than george bush's.
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an investigation into an attack that killed four soldiers. >> cnn has learned that sergeant la david johnson's body was found nearly a mile from the cite of the attack in niger. the fbi is there. as the pentagon tries to pin down an exact time line of what happened. cnn's elise labott reports. >> reporter: cnn has learned that sergeant la david johnson was found a mile away. according to those familiar with an early assessment. the pentagon is still looking at the exact circumstances of how johnson became separated. officials say the entire team led by green berets have been interviewed about the last time they saw johnson. nigerian forces found his body 48 hours after he had become separated. defense secretary james mattis was on capitol hill to meet with senator john mccain a day after he threatened to issue subpoenas for information on the ambush.
>> i felt we were not given a sufficient amount of information. and we are clearing a lot of that up now. >> we can do better at communication. we can always improve on communication. and that's exactly what we'll do. >> reporter: mattis is defending his troops in the face of criticism. >> having seen some of the news reports, the u.s. military does not leave its troops behind. and i would just ask that you not question the actions of the troops that were caught in the fire fight. and question whether or not they did everything they could in order to bring everyone out at once. >> reporter: u.s. officials are starting to provide a clear picture of the circumstances surrounding the attack. the u.s. team stopped in a town on the niger/mali border, with the nigerians they were working with to pick up supplies including food and water and then meet with ville age elders.
with four americans dead, the fbi is sifting nigerian authorities with the investigation. providing technical assistance. and helping to gather evidence. and routine step when u.s. citizens are killed overseas. >> first thing they're going to do is speak with the military personnel who survived the attack. they'll be analyzing every pit of electronic evidence. any type of e-mail traffic that may have come and gone from that region. talk to all of the security forces throughout west africa. who may have information regarding the movement of the people who attacked them. >> reporter: about 1,000 u.s. troops are in niger supporting a french-led campaign against extremists. senator lindsey graham is now saying the war on terror is morphing and we could see more actions in africa. >> we don't want the next 9/11 to come from niger. >> reporter: at the pentagon today, france's prime minister received full military honor.
>> following from the troops in niger last week, thank you for your support. >> reporter: french fighter jets arrived on the scene to help the u.s. troops but cnn has learned they didn't fire on the militants because they couldn't identify targets and risk hitting u.s. and french militants on the ground. >> you see that it's enough for senator graham could suggest more counterterrorism operations. >> you're going to have decisions being made, not in the white house but out in the field, now support that entire construct. so, the rules of engagement are going to change when that comes to counterterrorism operation. we're going to move to status-based targeting. so, if you found somebody who is a member of the terrorist organization, within lethal force, they don't have to present immediate threat. >> cnn's david mckenzie joins us
live from johannesburg. david, we know u.s. forces have been in africa for some time. what can you tell us about the terror threat in africa. and more importantly, what are u.s. forces doing there? >> well, martin, there's a substantial and desperate territory in that part of africa, in the west, now, it's mostly groups that are loosely created with isis and al qaeda. in recent years they've been hitting soft targets and military targets. it's worth noting that there have been several attacks by militant groups on nigerian forces where u.s. forces run into trouble. it's not a new threat. it's a threat that persists. americans have been in that region for some time. they've bolstered they're presence in recent years. and recently opened a $100 million drone base. so to answer your question, the u.s. is mostly involved in
information gathering, reconnaissance and because of the size of it, because of the it, you can't effectively have u.s. boots on the ground striking the militants as that legislator suggests but what we can do and what the u.s. has been doing is bolster the governments in the attempts to stand offer the terror threat. >> this is an operation that's going to go for some time. >> major general james spider marks described what probably happened. >> i can tell you immediately an environment had been assessed in advance of the operation, as permissive. in other words, they went in in a light posture. they had no large weapons systems. they didn't have immediate air support. so what happens is, you walk into an ambush like that, i think the initial report coming back was that sergeant johnson was in fact one of the drivers of one of the vehicle eggs of
this convoy, carrying this special operations team into the village. and that when this became an ambush site. when this became a very contested beaten zone, a hot area. he was probably trying to get his comrades out of the area. he might have been in the vehicle by himself, picking up additional folks. so, we really don't know if the confusion of the noise and killing and blood and screaming what took place. and he ended up a mile away. we'll figure that out. i do want to address the two-day period between when the ambush occurred and when he eventually recovered is a period that's unknown to all of us. again, they probably -- the soldiers probably tried to work their way back in there immediately and simply could not get back in because they were overwhelmed by the fire power. >> still so much more we need to know. now, to a new detail in the senate investigation into any
ties to russia. in june of last year, you'll recall the president's son, don junior, the president's son-in-law, jared kushner and paul manafort were all there. >> initially, trump junior reportedly said the meeting was about russian adoption. later reveal head was promised dirt on hillary clinton that was never provided. a second panel of the judiciary committee is working to have trump junior testify in a public hearing. still to come, five coming together to help hurricane victims. the same week two of them take jabs at the current president. yaaay! the complete balanced nutrition of ensure with 9 grams of protein and 26 vitamins and minerals. ensure. always be you.
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welcome back. i'm diane gallagher in for christi paul. >> and i'm martin savidge in for victor blackwell. okay, all five living former u.s. presidents are coming together in texas for a relief concert. they're raising money for hurricane victims in texas, florida, and the caribbean. >> hurricane harvey brought terrible destruction. but it also brought out the best in humanity. >> as former presidents we wanted to help our fellow americans begin to recover. >> our friends in texas including president bush 41 and 43 are doing just that. >> people are hurting. >> it's part of their one america appeal campaign. the concertificates will feature country and rock artists including alabama. the show comes just days after both obama and bush took thinly veiled swipes at president trump without mentioning his name. president bush declined
nationalism into nativism. >> and former trump strategy is not mincing words. >> steve bannon spoke at the california gop convention last night. and bluntly questioned president bush's intelligence and whether he even understood his own speech. >> president bush to me embarrassed himself. speechwriter wrote a highfalutin speech. it's clear he didn't understand anything he's talking about. eequates the industrial revolution, the agricultural revolution, global organization, he has no idea whether he's coming or going just like it was when he was president of the united states. i want to apologize up front to any of the bush folks outside. in this audience, okay. because there's not been a more destructive presidency than george bush's. >> yeah. steve bannon letting loose there. let's discuss. with us now, republican
strategist author of gop gps and cnn political commentator and former governor of south carolina. pretty scathing words, you heard them from steve bannon. saying there's never been a nor destructive presidency than george w. bush's, questioning his intelligence, at a republican party event. let's start with you, andre, what's your reaction to us? >> there's no love lost. i'm one of these republicans who believes you fight, but you do it behind closed doors. i'd rather see us not air our laundry and who can't get along out in the news media. but it's going to happen. and, you know, i hope we'll continue to forge forward. the republican party is experiencing growing pains right now. you've got a party that's continuing to grow whether you look at the governorship throughout the country or house and senate. and they're going to grow in '18. so, you're going to have different factions, some that are more conservative and quite frankly, democrats who have
become republicans which is what happened in south carolina. so, you're going to have different groups with different perspectives. that's what happened with steve bannon. he's not happy with things that the president did. >> andre, you called them growing pains. it's starting to look like a schism at some point. the republican party has changed that seems to be the opposite of what has happened. evan, how much of a threat is this to the republican party, this divide? andre's comment growing, i'm not sure what growing the republican party he's thinking about. young voters 18 to 29, 23% left the republican party between march 2016 and march 2017. millennials overall view president trump, at approval rating with them the worst among any generation. high teens, low 20s with
65-plus, 70% disapproval rating. we're not growing the party. the perfect example is the california gop which can't win state races. can't do anything. at this point, we're seeing steve bannon just burn it all down. not focus on issues that are matter to voters. we're becoming more and more isolated and pulling back. the party is contracting and the future is in serious trouble. >> i would disagree. you got 16 well-known people that ran for president of the united states. you got a president that wins in five different states than republicans don't win. and you got a president that won more minority voters when you look at latinos and blacks. and more than mitt romney. you tell me how that's not growing? to me, that's growing when you pick up five other states that nobody thought a republican could win. >> but by the same point, we won by 740,000 votes in michigan and pennsylvania that was the margin there to prove it.
when you talk about how we're growing, we're not winning over millennials. we're the largest generation in the entire united states, the largest sector of the voting bloc. when you rely on rural voters will they account for 20% of the country. babe boomers are literally dying out and millennials are the only generation to sustain us in the future. less than 1 in 5 identifies as a republican, and that's before donald trump. more of my friends 34 and under say what does the republican party offer me? i can't walk into a room and try to recruit millennial voters when trump drch donald trumj. t and defends people who are carrying on tiki torches in charlottesville. the republican party sounds like it's an attractive place.
it's not attractive place. >> what evan just brought up there, with president presidents, president of the united states bush and obama taking thinly veiled swipes. maybe not so thin. against president trump's administration on the same day that bannon let loose on bush. how rare do you thing this is, former presidents' bipartisan criticism of their successor. what do you make of the fact? two on the exact same day, andre? >> we've got a president that's going to upset the apple cart. that's going to take on the washington crowd for too long. >> that's not what they were talking about, andre, andre, they weren't talking about the washington apple cart. they were talking about racism. nationalism and nativism. >> it's their appointees that are still controlling washington. and donald trump is trying to get them out of office and he's trying to take on what's been in control in washington for years. that's the big money, the corporate crowd. he's fighting that group?
they want the american people to suffer. we've got a president that's not worried about offending people 7 fighting these battles that no other person was willing to fight. >> i'm sorry, that's malarkey as joe biden would say. it's scapegoating. when you havety california gop convention at the mere mention of george bush and john mccain, peopleed chanting "traitor." one person also "hang him." >> when do you quote california as a barometer? >> steve bannon said california's republican party is going great. it's the model that people want to go to. i saw the speech, i read the transcript. i'm just saying whatever republican gathering it goes to that is very trump centric, they are going out and doing this. nobody is denouncing this. this is absolutely ly despicabl
behavior. >> andre, real quick, i want to talk about something in the president's own words. in a new interview with fox news. the president seemed to have pretty great confidence, you're talking about getting things done that tax reform plan would pass. paul ryan saying earlier this week, now there may be a higher tax bracket and rate on the rich. trump telling fox news it's going to be there to protect the middle class. i want you to listen to what he said real quick. >> it's really not done very well over the last long period of time. and, so, when paul mentions maybe one category which i'd rather not have. is it may not happen. but the only reason i would have -- and he does say this, he's very plain, if says if for any reason i feel the middle class is not being properly being taken care of. >> is this evidence that the president grow compromising
or just trying to avoid health care 2.0? >> we've seen a president that's willing to compromise. he's been at 15%. he's come up to 20%. >> nothing has come of that attempt in compromise, and then he sort of burned the bridge aid afterwards? >> we're nine months in. we got an extended budget now. he did find a way to make it happen. working with democrats. they ought to be happy they got a president that's walking across party lines that says, hey, i'm willing to work with anybody who is willing to move forward. you're going to see a tax plan pass. will it help everybody? absolutely not. but the number one goal of this administration is to make sure the working folks have more money to take home. it's about time that somebody spoke up for them. because they don't have a lot of
that in washington other than the guy that ran against 16 republicans and said i'm going to better and he is. >> i think andre and i will actually agree on tax reform. the only thing i don't like is the salt deduction elimination which allows places like new york, california, illinois to triple taxes of citizens but i don't think that's fair. but at the same time, i think the president and the deals he's been making he didn't exactly strike a deal. the democrats came and said we want this extension, three months. republicans came in, paul ryan and mitch mcconnell, two year extension. president trump, 18 months, 15 months, no. >> evan and andre, thank you so much. >> thank you. coming un p -- soldiers and civilians literally dancing in the streets as isis in syria.
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the majority of civilians who fled were really just being held hostage by isis. but there were some family members believed to be family members, the hard core fighters of isis. they're being asked to flee r k raqqah, they're still being held in the refugee camp. which you'll notice is still isolatesed from the rest of refugees sheltered. they need to be vetted. they're kept under armed guard because there are security concerns. no one is allowed to move in and out. and they have had all sharp objects removed from them. we just spoke to one family who said they were just civilians caught up in all of this. they tried to flee on neerm rum occasions and were unable to do so. the conditions are pretty dire. it's going to be some time
before any families can actually go back home. authorities say it's going to take at least three to four months just to clear raqqah of explosives, mines that isis left behind. even with the onset, ill-equipped to deal with the volume of people coming forward. seeking shelter. there's not enough humanitarian assistance. there's not enough support. and the numbers on a regular basis, even though the fight between isis and raqqa is over. that front line has shifted. leaving thousands fleeing for their lives on a fairly regular basis. but crucial for ensuring that an entity like isis does not return, once again, is going to be ensuring that these families can not only go back home. but that they can somehow rebuild the fabric of cities of societies like raqqah. they need support from civilian
members, they need to break the cycle of violence. the children that you see here, they have known nothing but the isis way of life for the last four or five years. they have known nothing but brutality. nothing but fear. nothing but that kind of violence. and they need to be shown something else. they need to be shown a different way of life. and that is why it is so crucial that the reconstruction effort, when it can begin in raqqah, has the kind of international support that it needs to be successful. otherwise, the risk is that the cycles of violence continue. there's some part of a security vacuum in something like isis or worse could re-emerge. >> arwa damon, thank you very much for that very compelling look how the war against isis is improving to a new and different pace. terror in tampa, after a third person was found dead in the seminole heights neighborhood in florida. now, officials believe all three murders are related.
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a man hnhunt is under way i tampa as police say someone is tearizing the seminole heights neighborhood. three people have been murdered in less than two weeks apparently without motive. the fbi think that the killings are all related. and they're warning residents to stay alert, walk in groups. >> really frightening here, bus rider, all shot near bus stops close to one another. police are asking to you take a look at the surveillance video. someone walking near the crime scene. joining me by phone tampa police chief brian dugan. chief, thank you so much. i do appreciate you joining us. you say all appear to be
related. the fact that they're bus riders, what makes you think all of the shootings are related? >> well, the reason they're related is the proximity. and the way these killings are taking place. and the fact that all of our victims were alone. that's why we think they're related. there are obvious signs to it. i'm not willing to say it's one person. you know, we don't have enough information at this point to really label it anything. but when you have three different people murdered within ten days, within half a mile of each other, it's clearly related and it's very concerning to our neighborhood. >> could you be looking at a serial killer here then? >> well, we're not willing to label that. i'm not doing it to be evasive. sometimes, when we label things, we start getting a focus on one person. and we don't know if this is a white male, a black female.
you know, a black male. a white female. and i'm concerned that if we label it somebody, people might lose sight of -- you know, focus on something and lose sight of the big picture. we don't have enough information to really call it something like that. i need everyone in the neighborhood and the entire city of tampa to be aware that at this point, everybody is a potential suspect. >> quickly, what advice do you have for people who are scared, they don't want to leave their houses right now. >> you know when you have events like this, you know, i think the first response is lock your doors, close curtains and hide inside. i'm actually asking people to do the opposite. we're asking people to come outside in groups. don't walk alone. one key thing that the three victims have in common is that they were buy themselves. we're asking people not to go out alone. we're asking you to come back, come outside and take back your neighborhood, so to speak.
let's not be held hostage by this. turn your porch lights on. last night, we were going through the neighborhoods and actually offering people porch lights if they didn't have them. putting light bulbs in there. you know, lighting up the neighborhood, get people outside. see what's going on. >> thank you so much, chief. i do appreciate that. i hope you guys have this soon. >> that is it for us. we'll see you back here tomorrow morning. in the "cnn newsroom" will start then. >> don't go anywhere, smerconish are "smerconish" starts after this quick break. their experience is coveted. their leadership is instinctive. they're experts in things you haven't heard of - researchers of technologies that one day, you will. some call them the best of the best.
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