tv CNN Newsroom With Ana Cabrera CNN November 19, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
live net cnn "newsroom." thanks for being here with us on this sunday. breaking news. president trump lashing out saying he should've left three ucla players to spend years in a chinese jail seemingly because he got his feelings hurt by one players' dad. he writes, now that the three basketball players are out of china and safe from years of jail, lavar ball, the father of limit ang low is unaccepting of
why i did for him and shoplifting is no big deal. i should have left them in jail. later he writes shoplifting is a very big deal in china as it should be, five to ten years in jail. should have gotten his son out during my next trip to china instead. china told them why they were released. very ungrateful. ball is an outspoken and controversial figure in the sports world. he said this to espn when asked about trump's role in freeing his son and his teammates, quote, who? what was he over there for. everybody wants to make it seemed like he helped me out. boris sanchez, throughout these whole ordeal, trump wanted to make sure everyone knew he personally intervened. >> that's absolutely right. shortly after it was confirmed that they would be released and we found out from the white house it was president trump who personally asked chinese
president xi jinping to release these students to the united states, the president tweeted out, wondering allowed if these students would actually thank him for intervening on their behalf. they did say thank you. he tweeted back to them saying that they should be weary of the many pitfalls in life and we thought it was over until we got that statement from lavar ball on friday. we should point out the two tweets were hours apart so this is something the president is clearly spent his sunday thinking about and others are now also responding. representative adam shif repeating this out today about the president, writing, quote, the president would have left american students in a foreign jail because their families didn't lavish sufficient praise on him. how can someone in such a be office be so small? we'll see if this feud like many others of the president's on twitter will continue moving forward. >> speaking of feuds, the president just tweeted again
taking a shot at another target. >> that's right. this would be arizona senator jeff flake that was caught on a hot mic earlier this week while talking about the president and controversial senate candidate in alabama roy moore. watch what happened. >> come the party of roy moore and donald trump. >> so jeff flake has been a very focal critic of donald trump and roy moore as have been many other republicans of the president has been criticized for several days for not giving a definitive answer on whether or not he believes some of roy moore's accusers. today on one of the sunday morning shows, the president doesn't know who to believe and that the people of alabama should decide who they do believe. the president tweeted about jeff flake as you said a few moments
ago saying that he was saying bad things about your favorite president and suggesting that flake would vote no on tax cuts because his political career any way is toast. to be clear, jeff flake hasn't exactly taken a position on these tax cuts just yet so the president making some speculation there, ana. >> also calling him jeff flakey instead of flake. thank you. i want to bring in our panel now. ron brownstein, douglas breakingly and christine brennan. thank you for being here. a lot to talk about with the dynamics of this situation. ron, is the president suggesting with these tweets regarding the ucla basketball players if you don't offer thanks and gratitude or you don't agree with him, he's not going to help you? >> that's what he's suggesting today. i mean there may be some deep psychological need that propells
him to go on twitter and attack anyone who he sees as standing up to him or disrespecting him but i think we've reached the point where you have to say there's more to this than that, this is clearly a conscious political strategy. this is so obviously inappropriate and trivial for the president of the united states to be tweeting about just as it was bizarre for him to be tweeting given his history about al franken, this is a moment where the game is made too transparent and that the president sees it as in his interest to participate an endless twitter fights and move on to the next one. he does pay a price for that. look at polls. he lacks temperament to be president. i think he sees this as a way of shifting the spotlight from the agenda and also signaling to his base that he's willing to fight any institution or individual who is standing up to him. we are basically being pulled around by the tail because there
will be something after this on wednesday. i guarantee it. >> i read those comments from lavar ball that he made to espn and i thought, why would he say that? >> a lot of people may not know lavar ball but he is the father of this ucla basketball player but he's a controversial figure in his own right who has actually been par rod did ied on snl. >> lavar -- >> he would need help. >> really? >> i'm going to tell you right now. he's better than seth curry to me. >> put seth curry and my boy on golden state and watch what happens. >> my three sons. >> just look at me. i am a giant, full head of hair. >> you think alonzo's going to win mvp? >> and he'll be named america's
next top model. >> but shoplifting in china? >> what? come on! >> lavar ball has said he could take on michael jordan and beat him. is trump just giving ball exactly what he wants more attention? >> absolutely. this is the greatest thing that's ever happened to lavar ball and i would tell the president which is to ignore this guy. lavar ball is -- picture the worst mom or dad on your kid's youth sport sideline, the worst screamer that you've ever met multiplied times ten, maybe multiplied times 100 and that's lavar ball. he's one of these guys that just can drive you crazy. he's gone on sexist rants and got a female referee removed from his youngest son basketball game this summer. he's had other sexist rants. he's really not a good guy and
there are a lot of people -- i've been critical of him, a lot of people critical of this behavior but to think that now he's been able to troll the president of the united states and drag the president into a twitter war or war of words with a guy who is, other than being ridiculous parent, basically harmless and this is the president of the united states. this is unbelievable that we're here and that this is the kind of conversation we're having because even though they probably deserve each other in many ways, the fact that it's the president, the weight of that office and just this goofy and ridiculous sports father is hard to believe we're mentioning both of them in the same sentence. >> forgive what the father said, after the president wondered allowed on twitter whether the ucla basketball players would thank him. they did just that. in fact, here it is. >> to president trump and the united states government, thank you for taking the time to intervene on our behalf. we really appreciate you helping
us out. i'd also like to thank president trump and the united states government for the help that they provided as well. >> thank you to the united states government and president trump for your efforts to bring us home. >> so doug, the tweet first demanding the thanks, they do it and now there's this spat with the player's dad for the lack of appreciation. what has the president actually accomplished for all of this? >> donald trump looks amazingly small for engaging in this. obviously mr. ball is a sensualist. he's looking for attention. they are to peas in a pod, president trump and mr. ball. remember, donald trump on the campaign one african-american pleader is don king and that kind of sensationalized approach to american pop culture. for the president to do this he's casting aspergens on these three young men who did do the
apologizing and he's blaming the father for them when they took to the mic and humbled themselves after their shoplifting. it's another example of donald trump just being a disappointment, just a little bit of red meat to his base and there may be a racial tinge to all this, the fact that he wants to have a war with somebody like mr. ball. i think he can win that, donald trump, and it'll appeal to his base. >> ron, do you think that's the case? >> i do. i agree. i think there is a racial element in this. i don't think it's at the foreground. i do think we have been through this long enough that i feel sometimes i'm watching an episode of curb your enthusiasm where there's going to be another argument in ten minutes. that's central to his conception of the presidency. he has not shown that he can move public opinion on -- around their agenda. the health care bill faced greater than two to one opposition. there's more than two to one opposition in the polling this week. the tax plan which is moving
forward. it is moving forward and we have trouble sustaining the focus on the debate about a bill that's going to add 1.5 trillion to the deficit and raise taxes on 40% of people -- >> in fact, he needs some of those senators like jeff flake to get on board with his agenda and he's going after jeff flake tonight calling him flakey. >> i believe that congressional republicans have come to peace with this idea it's almost a division of responsibility where his job is to stir up these cultural often racially tinged dispute that energize their base and distract the media while they advance their agenda through congress, that is an historically conservatively agenda. that's what's holding the coalition together even though it has a clear price on his public standing and you do have the significant majority of americans saying he doesn't have the temperament, judgment, values that they want to see in a president. nonetheless, it is a functioning
apparatus at this point because the agenda is moving forward even as all these fireworks go off some where else. >> christine, i'm seeing some of the social media comments, saying, president trump was right in some ways on this issue and lavar ball was wrong. could this, in fact, have a negative impact on the future of his son's career because obviously ucla was hoping that this whole scandal would die down. >> all three of the players right now including lavar ball's son, they're suspended indelve and one would hope they'll be suspended the entire year. this is a very serious thing that did happen that now we're trivializing and talking about all the other parts of it. doug mentioned the racial component here and it takes me right back to late september and donald trump crash landing into the colin kaepernick story when he was down in alabama and it was a political speech and he turns it into s.o.b. line and triggered for what, a good five,
6'7" weeks this national conversation and this devee siff conversation as teams were kneeling, players were kneeling, et cetera as that all came back up. that story was dead until trump found a hand grenade so one wonders if here he goes again in the sports perspective he has taken over these conversations in a way we've never seen a president or any political leader have anywhere near this kind of interest or time or inclination to even begin to devote any of their energy to something like this but here we are. >> doug, ron mentioned the tax reform debate and that happening right now at the same time these tweets are coming out. it's also coming at a time when the president's son-in-law and his son are under increased scrutiny in the russian probe. coincidence? >> no. i think the next two days is going to get very hot. he's looking, president trump, to change the conversation.
he does like to own the weekends meaning he wants people to talk about trump not judge roy moore or anybody else. >> there's never a slow news weekend around here. >> never. he loves doing this. he suddenly blows up the sunday just to be in the headlines again, but i have a feeling that the heat's getting on the russia probe, tomorrow the big stories will be his son and son-in-law and the fact that the tax plan -- he's sold nothing to congress this year. he may be hedging. he might think that all republican tax plan won't work and he doesn't want to be seen as having overly promoting it and coming up with a zero, hence he continues to be the trump drum not the gop drum. >> we've got to run. go ahead. >> real quick. i think the republicans may think this is a division of responsibility, if you look at the polling, the biggest group
of voters who have judged donald trump as unfit for the white house are those white collar white voters and you saw them move in big numbers in virginia, new jersey, seattle, philadelphia in the election earlier this month, allowing this to go on for the republicans in congress is not as cost-free as they believe even if they can advance their agenda. >> we'll talk about trump supporters, that makes me think of roy moore and what's happening there. thank you all for joining us for that discussion. coming up, breaking news the attorneys for the president's son-in-law speaking to cnn about the new questions surrounding jared kushner and documents not handed over in the russia probe. stay with us. ♪ the candle feeds the flame topped steak & twisted potatoes at applebee's. eatin' good in the neighborhood. ...has grown into an enterprise.
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>> the committee investigations are devolving into political gotcha games. if committees selectively leak parts of interviews or send me letters through the media or turn jared kushner's very clear e-mail that there should be no contact with anybody in a foreign country into what they call a missing document, then they're undermining their own credibility. the issue of russia interference in the 2016 election say serious one but these committee actions are not. >> that comment comes after senators, both the republican and democrat in the top of the judiciary committee claimed kushner received an e-mail about wikileaks and passed it on and in his earlier statements he said he didn't recall any campaign contact with wikileaks. he also didn't turn over the e-mails that shows this, i guess, transfer of the e-mail from don jr. initially to other members of the trump campaign. joining me is legal analyst paul
cowan. when you hear those comments from kushner's attorney, do you agree that this is a gotcha game? >> i was looking at a very angry lawyer there. the abbey lowell looks very angry at the way his client is being treated, they're just trying to set my client up, they're not trying to get information. the basis of his anger as a lawyer is that he says, you know, we turned over all the information that the house committee asked us to turn over and i then said to the senate committee, i'm going to give you everything that we gave to the house committee and the senate committee then leaked and said they've given us incomplete information. well, he's saying we didn't give him incomplete information, i gave them what i told them i was giving them the same stuff the house got. he's exactly correct. he gave the information that they asked for, but from a public relations standpoint i think he's got a problem,
because these e-mails that were forwarded to jared kushner by don jr. made explicit reference to contact that the campaign had had with russians. and then kushner -- and then kushner forwarded on to other people, so it passed through his e-mail system and i think the public and the congress has a right to expect that that would be turned over. >> now we know kushner has done interviews with two of the committees, the intelligence committee in both the senate and the house that are investigating the russia ties to the election and any interference, but he hasn't interviewed as far as our knowledge with the special counsel's office yet. does that surprise you? >> no, it doesn't surprise me because mueller has been very meticulous about interviewing all the peripheral figures, the people on the edges of the scandal if we can call it a scandal and then he moves in to the center the people who really have the information.
he's interviewing people in the white house now. so my bet is he's saving jared kushner for the end when he's got all of his ducks in a row and he knows exactly what information kushner should've had and he'll see how much is going to get turned over. mueller is up against a rather talented lawyer. this is the guy that represented senator menendez and got a hung jury. the jury asked that his summation be read back to them and that's a very -- that's quite a compliment to a lawyer when the jury asks for your summation rather than the evidence in the case. and really the hung jury was a win for him. he's a form midable adversary for the mueller investigation. >> i want to ask you about rob goldstone because we know he's going to be talking with the special counsel and he's the middle man. he set up that now infamous meeting with the russia lawyer at trump tower and all these
people were there, trump jr., jared kushner, paul manafort. he's talking today, breaking his silent telling the sunday times in the uk that the hardest part has been dealing with peoples' perception of who i am, peoples' perception of what went on and having to say nothing. those things don't freak me out. what freaks me out is silence. there's nothing harder than saying nothing. it sounds like he is eagtor talk. how do you interpret that? >> he is eager to talk but this guy is comic relief as compared to abbey lowell. he's almost a clown in the way he runs -- how he makes public statements about his public relations operation. what he essentially was referring to in those two statements is the fact that he's now saying, he was exaggerating to get don jr. interested in setting up the meeting with the russian lawyer. there are conflicts in his testimony because there are some
e-mails and facebook postings indicating that he called her a russian government attorney and then later on he calls her a private citizen and of course her connection to the russian government would be a key, an important key to this entire investigation. so as foolish and crazy as he sounds he could be an important witness ultimately. >> we appreciate your legal expertise. thank you for joining us. >> nice being with you. >> great to have you on. coming up, more outrage. a top alabama newspaper comes out against the controversial senate candidate roy moore. the scathing op ed taking aim now at his sex abuse scandal in alabama. our recent online sales success seems a little... strange?nk na. ever since we switched to fedex ground
judge roy moore, republican nominee for senate in alabama. today saw all the support disappear. these were the headlines in alabama today. stand for decency, reject roy moore. below that, an endorsement for the democratic nominee, doug jones. now the growing list of sexual misconduct accusations against moore is what drove a.l..com to support the democratic. very unusual move by a state that is deeply red. president trump has said a word about this moore situation. a white house official is speaking for the president this weekend. >> the president has expressed his concern about this. as you noted, the president has not gone down to alabama to campaign for roy moore since the primary concluded. we have serious concerns about the allegations that have been made. these also concern that these
allegations are 38 years old, roy moore has been in public service for decades and the accusations did not arise until a month before election. so we're concerned about several aspects of the story. we're very concerned about the allegations. but at this point as i've said, we think it's best for the people to make the decision for them. >> i want to go to nick in alabama. >> reporter: it has no doubt been a difficult week and a half for the candidate roy moore. his supporters are digging in and so is the candidate showing no signs of withdrawing. but this morning, more bad news for the moore campaign. the largest newspaper in alabama sending out this editorial. this is what resident's are waking up too, this bold headline asking voters to reject roy moore. this is what they're saying. do not make your voting decision based on who will effect in your hometown. there's only one candidate left in this race who has proven
worthy of the task representing alabama, he is doug jones. do not let this conversation be muddled. this election has become a referendum on whether we will accept this kind of behavior from our leaders. we have been talking to voters all week long and all these allegations against him may not seem to matter much to his most ard dent supporters. even if these allegations of sexual assault are true against roy moore, they'd much rather vote for the republican over a democrat. >> thank you. and new tonight, an aid to minnesota al franken said the democrat has no intention of stepping down. there have been calls for his resignation after tweeden came forward of accusing him of forcibly kissing her and groping her back in 2006. this was before franken was in office, of course. a spokesperson for franken says he's doing a lot of reflecting while spending time with his family. tonight, we're also learning franken has been cut out of a
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speculation about what the regime could be up to. here's barbara starr. >> reporter: north korea hasn't conducted a missile test in over two months. the silence since the last test, september 14th, now an puzzle for u.s. military intelligence. the u.s. special representative for north korea policy says, he doesn't know what's going on inside the regime's effort to build weapons that could attack the u.s. >> i would hope that they would stop forever, you know, and -- but we've had no communications from them so i don't know whether to interpret it positive or not. >> reporter: some u.s. officials say the north korean pause in weapons testing may be due to pressure from china, but defense secretary james mattis possibly sending a new single to pyongyang that there is a way out of the crisis short of the demand for the complete
denuclearization of north korea that president trump has called for. mattis telling reporters, so long as they stop testing, stop developing, they don't export the weapons, there would be opportunity for talk. after secretary of state rex tillerson in september suggested talks with north korea, president trump appeared to undermine him tweeting, i told rex tillerson, our wonderful secretary of state that he is wasting our time trying to negotiate with little rocket man, but inside the administration some are wondering if counter to the president, mattis and tillerson are knowingly playing the good cop role. >> they realize that the actual idea of denuclearizing the north korean military is really far-fetched. it's not going to happen. north korea's going to hold on to its nukes for as long as it possibly can and they're not going to willingly give them up.
>> reporter: kim may have other dire plans. the u.s. government believes north korea is using a malware called fall chill. it's cyber operatives may be hacking into financial institutions, stealing money to increase their cash flow for expensive weapons testing. >> the north koreans may be using this pause to in essence mind some money out of different hacks that they do. >> reporter: north korea's next weapons steps can include working on a missile launching submarine. commercial satellite imagining has revealed the latest efforts at their complex. >> that was barbara starr. the top u.s. nuclear commander says, he would refuse nuclear strike orders from president trump if those orders were illegal. general john heighten says his first obligation is to follow the law and not just the orders of the commander-in-chief.
>> i provide advice to the president. he'll tell me what to do and if it's illegal guess what's going to happen. >> you say no. >> i'm going to say, mr. president, that's illegal and he's going to say what's going to be legal and we'll come up with options and that's the way it works. it's not that complicated. >> let's discuss with our own military expert general mark hurt limit thank you for spending some of your weekend with us. what was your reaction when you heard those comments? >> when i heard just the snippet, i knew there was probably a lot more to it and there was. when you look at the context of general heighten's speech to that conference in halifax to a bunch of allies and u.s. officers out of strategic command, you realize it was a conversation in what he was talking about is the various aspects of planning and processing in the event of the potential of a nuclear war. what he said is technically correct and i've said this
multiple times on cnn about other issues, when soldiers, commanders are given illegal orders they have an obligation not to obey them. it's part of our oath. we not only support and defend the constitution but we obey the orders of the president and the orders appointed over us according to regulation and the code of military justice. what the general was proclaiming to everyone is calm down, a little bit. this comes on the tail of what was going on in congress with a vote to hold on to some of the nuclear authorities and what he was basically saying is, trust us. we have the capability to go through processes and we would not take an illegal or an immoral or unethical order from anyone in terms of launching nuclear weapons. >> you bring up what happened in congress this week which was really significant when you look at the fact that in the past four years there hasn't been a congressional hearing that really dives in to the authority of the president, the sole
authority to launch these nuclear strikes. is there any upside or advantage or disadvantage to removing that power from the president, saying it has to go through congress to get a signoff? >> in my view it would be extremely disadvantageous. those processes were put in place for a reason. a lot of the things connected to the nuclear football were put in place after president kennedy back in the '60s, said, i've got to have the ability to react from wherever i am but he didn't say all by myself. what he said was, in case of dire emergency, i have to have this nuclear football that has the codes in case -- in case i have to react. you still go through a process when you're talking about either a strike or a pre-emptive action against another country. i think what's going on in congress personally is much ado about nothing. they're driving some things up and i think -- i know the
processes are in place to make sure nothing illegal or immoral happens and that the defense of our country is foremost in the mind of everyone. >> what do you make of the fact that we haven't seen a missile test or really any action on that front from north korea in a couple months and i'm going to knock on wood as i say that? >> and you and i have been on multiple times with weekend launches. >> i know. i hope i didn't jinx it. >> you probably did. here's what i say. barbara starr's commentary and her report is right on the money. there are other things going on and i think some of the things that you talked about in that clip were probably at the forefront but there are maybe a few other things. i think kim jong-un is possibly looking at expanding his capability so that means pairing launch systems, the missiles, with perhaps the weapon system. that would be the logic next
step in launching a missile. even if it was for a target in the middle of a ocean. he has done about as much as he can without wasting more time and more energy and more resources just by launching another missile, so i think what he's trying to do is go to the next level. some of the other things that were mentioned in the report could certainly be true as well but i think what you're saying is kim jong-un trying to bring this to the next level of capability. >> good to see you. thanks for being here. >> thank you. i want to get to this breaking news out of southwest texas. we're learning a border patrol agent is now dead after injuries he received while on patrol in the van horn area. this is near the mexico border. the agent's partner was also injured in the incident but officials are not saying exactly what happened, only that the fbi is investigating. we'll continue to work to get more details and past those along here in the "newsroom." late night in the age of trump. cnn's brian steltzer sits down
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>> you're not the potu accident is, you're the blotus. >> how long does this wall have to be? >> he's the most mocked man in america. monopolizing late night. >> it's hard not to feel defended. >> kim jong-un, rocket man. >> kim jong-un as rocket man dominating snl. >> such a nasty little -- >> he's like a mime producing raw material. >> he's blowing up scripts. >> case of the news. >> stop it. >> so much faster. making and breaking careers. >> it's like a little excuse me. >> would you say you're on a mission to take him down? >> i would like to see him brought down to the ground. preferably in handcuffs. >> you're turning into a real [ bleep ] tator. >> has late night gone too far? >> disrespectful of the office.
i think so. let's bring in the host of reliable sources. what a fun assignment for you to explore this issue. to talk to the comedians. you know, we've become accustomed to having to blow up our script here at cnn because of something the president tweeted, i mean, is that the new normal for late night comics too? >> yeah, it's happened three times here in cnn and it definitely happens at the late night shows as well. that's why we wanted to take this moment one year since election day to look at how the late night shows have changed. i really think they've permanently changed due to president trump. they are more partisan, they're more polarized. more political. in fact, the only comedians who haven't gone in that kind of anti-trump direction are the ones that have had ratings trouble lately. going to your point about rewriting the scripts. that was the consistency of those that we did in recent months. inside the writers rooms and
inside the studios, comedians are having to rewrite jokes and come up with new jokes right up until air time because of this insane news cycle. one of the best examples was the day that james comey was fired from the fbi. usually these shows are taping at 5:00, 6:00, 7:00 p.m., all the late night staffs had to go back to the drawing board. >> he talked about activist comedy. is that the goal? >> someone like chelsea handler or seth myers might describe it that way. activist comedy. they're trying to get folks to open their eyes and doing that from a liberal perspective in most of these cases. investigative comedy thrown around recently. you know, john oliver for example, using video clips,
using mash-ups, trying to show a journalistic investigation, but clearly from a point of view often times a very trump skeptical point of view or an outright anti-trump point of view. some it works better than others. chelsea handler is leaving her nightly show on netflix, first it was nightly, then it was weekly, now she's leaving the show entirely. she wants to be an activist. the president as we know does not like alec baldwin's impersonation of him on snl. how huge is the impact of all of this taking on the president? >> i think a lot of comedians deep down inside they're preaching to the choir. and certainly baldwin expressed that concern in interviews. he's proud of the character. honestly i think snl is empty on the weeks he's not there. he wasn't on last night. and you could tell the show was missing something when baldwin
playing trump is not on. deep down inside, some of these comics wonder are they changing anybody's mind? and i'm not so sure they are anymore. >> thank you as always for joining us. can't wait to e soot special coming up tomorrow night. it's a special report late night in the age of trump. it's at 9:00 eastern monday here on cnn. much more ahead in the newsroom. we'll be right back. our recent online sales success seems a little... strange?nk na. ever since we switched to fedex ground business has been great. they're affordable and fast... maybe "too affordable and fast." what if... "people" aren't buying these books online, but "they" are buying them to protect their secrets?!?! hi bill. if that is your real name. it's william actually. hmph! affordable, fast fedex ground.
a feud that is striking because it involves the leader of the free world and the issue of imprisoned americans overseas. the president tweeting again, slamming lavar ball whose son plays for ucla and trump apparently not feeling fake thanked enough for getting his son out of jail. now that the three are out of china and safe from years in jail, lavar ball, the father of liangelo is unaccepting of what i did for his son and shoplifting is no big deal. i should have left them in jail. hours later, it was still on his mind apparently and he continued. shoplifting is a very big deal in china as it should be, five to ten years in jail, but not to father lavar. should have gotten his son out during my next trip to china instead. china told them, they were released and why they were released very ungrateful. and by the way, feuding about the sam