tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN August 22, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT
around here so best of luck to you, chandra and please stay in touch. this will always be your home. >> time now for newsroom with jim sciutto. a very good thursday morning to you. i'm jim sciutto in washington. poppy harlow is off today. he prides himself on being a counter puncher but over the last 24 erratic hours president trump is fighting more like he's on the rows. he praised a conspiracy theorist who dubbed him the king of israel, called the prime minister of denmark's comment nasty after she said that greenland, an autonomous part of her country, was not for sale. he flip-flopped on new tax cuts. and went after one of his favorite obsessions, president obama, blaming his predecessor 20 times for all his current problems.
all that blame coming in the span of 30 minutes. "the new york times" reported this morning, quote, some former trump administration officials in recent days said they were increasingly worried about the president's behavior suggesting it stems from rising pressure on mr. trump as the economy seems more worrisome and next year's election approaches. this all comes as the president zigs and zags on gun control saying one thing one moment, another the next. >> i'm looking to do background checks. i think background checks are important. people don't realize, we have very strong background checks right now. and i have to tell you it is a mental problem and i've said it a hundred times, it's not the gun that pulls the trigger, it's the person that pulls the trigger. >> we're going to be doing background checks. >> well, it's understandable you might have trouble keeping up. joe, the administration says
it's working on options. are there any serious options on the table because the president you'll remember after parkland he went there and backed off after the nra raised concerns about his re-election. is it different this time or no? >> we're in a position where we're trying to decipher the meaning of the president's words when they're sometimes contradictory as i think that lash up there really shows. the president has said and reiterated now he's interested in meaningful background checks. that comes just 24 hours after sources said he told a top man at the nra that he was not interested and therefore would not put universal background checks on the table. important also to say there that the emphasis is on that word, universal, and what that means. so cnn's jim acosta has reported that the president has been presented with some options.
what those options are, the sources would not say. also the sources in the gun lobby would not say. we are essentially waiting for the white house to give us more information. we also know tat the united states congress is still out of session. they're in their long august recess. and when i they get back, perhaps there will be someone who can describe to us what those other options are for meaningful as the president has put it gun control or background checks. back to you. >> you might say if they were serious options there'd be discussions of it. joining me now is reporter for "the washington post." good to have you on this morning. you've covered this white house for a long time. is there a serious effort by this president to pass gun
control measures? >> after this reporting he told the nra he was not, this is perhaps the president trying to push off any suggestion he is in anyway beholden to the nra. trump came out and said after the shooting he was in support of background checks. now, he clearly has retreated to the republican position since then, not only talking about mental health saying it's a mental health problem but saying we have background checks now. so it's understandable that people are very confused right now, but it sounds like he was self-conscious about that story or the reports he called the nra and said okay, no more background checks suggesting we are going to do something but no one really knows right now. >> that's smart. no question about that. there's not a lot of appetite among republican lawmakers to move forward, and there's been a lot of talk from our hill reporters that republican
lawmakers could get behind something if the president led the way, right? in effect, gave them cover. but do you see any serious effort on the hill to present something? >> it's really unlikely. i mean, what we know is always true. it's going to take a court united front from the white house and republican leaders to make any type of gun legislation happen particularly around background checks. and know it's so contentious around the base. weave not seen that level of organization from the white house, from the hill to really say there's that type of appetite. i mean, if the president used that kind of bully pulpit, if the president marshalled resources to give the president cover among the base, sure, that seems like something that may be able to happen because there's such energy around the issue. we have not seen that. until that becomes clear from my perspective and from all the things i hear from thehill, we shouldn't hold our breath for it. >> he's talking a lot about being the chosen one on china or
speaking of himself in these sort of messiah like terms. but when it comes to guns republicans universally say he is the one that can do this, if he is the one that lead the way and he can make a difference. >> that seems to have been wayne lepierre's message the nra helped get you elected. you mentioned chosen one on china trade, king of israel retweeting that comment there. you know, beyond the surprise and interesting nature of those comments from a sitting u.s. president, there is some messaging is there not to evangelical voters? >> oh, yeah, i think this is president who has thought his message particularly on israel is one he can drive a wedge between democrats and jewish voters. so he is making the argument that some would call anti-semitic if they would vote for democrats, that is disloyal
thing to do. this is president who has gone to those lengths repeatedly for these electoral purps. he's not shied away from criticism even when it's comes from members of his own party. i think yesterday is an incapsulation of what we've seen a long time from the president. he's someone who will go to all the length if he thinks it's in the name of getting votes and that's the only kind of electoral mect udhe knows. it's not going to be to grow out there the base, come to the middle, the double and triple down. >> and divide and conquer. rachel, you made the point there's concern about this from folks in israel but also american jewish leaders that this has always been a bipartisan issue for israel's perspective for their interest. because they don't want it to swing on a pendulum. the president, though, is making this is very partisan issue.
>> that's right. and israel has been a position of bipartisan aide, but by making this a partisan issue you're actually undermieping israel in the long run. if you're saying you're a jewish voter and you have to vote republican, obviously he's trying to peel off some jewish voters who typically vote democrat to support him. a lot of lawmakers are arguing by trying to make this a republican position that's going to erode for instance perhaps that vote to israel in future years. this is going to up end that bipartisan support that typically helps israel in the past. >> another topic. there's been a lot of talk about the possibility of nikki haley replacing mike pence on the ticket in 2020. attempting to dismiss that in a strongly worded tweet. enough of these false rumors, she says vice president pence
has been a dear friend of mine for years, he has my complete support. does this effectively put that talk to rest am. >> i think that talk was always unlikely. it was a really dramatic shift for the president and vice president pence has always held down that evangelical constituency for the president. i think there was always kind of a low chance of that happening. when we talk about nikki haley and vice president pence it's not really 2020 we should be talking about, but 2024 when those two might be in a republican primary and iowa with each other, so while that tweet will certainly go down and put down the vice presidential rumors what won't stop is the haley 2024 rumors. >> and the president does not particularly love when other people attempt to share the spotlight. >> not only that but he surrounds himself with yes men, people who take his ideas and sort of run with them and don't
push back. and nikki haley has shown she's willing to stand up to the president when it's necessary for instance just tweeting a couple of weeks ago when he was attacking elijah cummings the democrat from maryland saying this is so unnecessary when trump seemed to be making fun of the fact someone broke into his home. the idea of him replacing mike pence who's been a loyal foot soldier with trump for replacing nikki haley seems absurd. >> i'm just thinking if his focus is on winning purely -- >> if he has a problem with women, he can do background checks because a lot of suburban women and republicans support those. still to come this hour in the week since two mass shootings dozens of arrests have been made. the suspects all accused of making new threats of gun violence. what's behind the apparent uptick in such threats? all this as police in california stopped a planned attack on a
hotel. plus president trump says that isis prisoners captured by the u.s. will not go to guantanamo bay saying he may have no choice but to release them inside european countries. does he mean that? and massive fires raging inside the amazon rain forest, burning at a record rate. it has enormous consequences for the planet. we're going to be live in brazil coming up. but what i do count on... is boost® delicious boost® high protein nutritional drink has 20 grams of protein, along with 26 essential vitamins and minerals. boost® high protein. be up for life.
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a man they say was planning to attack employees and guests at a marriott hotel where he worked. look at the arsenal he was able to collect. police say they found multiple high powered weapons, tactical gear, high capacity magazines, all the normal ingredients for mass shootings in this country. gets get to cnn's nick watt. he's been following developments. nick, how close do they think this came to an attack here? >> reporter: they don't know the exact timing of the planned attack but the police chief from long beach said had this not been reported he is sure lives would have been lost. now, the alleged suspect is a 37-year-old. he was a cook at at marriott near the airport down there in long beach, and apparently he was upset with what the chief described as workplace activity with something to do with human resources. he then allegedly told a fellow employee of his plan to shoot at
his fellow employees and as the chief described, anybody else who he saw coming into that hotel. let's take a listen to a little bit more of what the chief had to say. >> suspect montoya had clear plans, intent and the means to carry out an act of violence that may have resulted in a mass casualty incident. >> now, so that -- his plan was reported to police monday evening. he was arrested within 24 hours, and that cashe of weapons found in his home, jim, as you mentioned including high powered rifles, assault rifles, high capacity smag swreens that are illegal here in california and tactical gear. and the chief just kept on saying if this had not been reported we would have lost lives, and he says i believe it is our obligation that if we see something, we say something in these times in our country.
>> and the consistent fact is that folks making plans like this can compile an arsenal like that. nick watt, thanks so much. that arrest in california comes as police and fbi agents are making a big push to thwart attacks. cnn's rosa flores following all of this. how extensive are these threats and i suppose how serious is the extent of these threats? >> reporter: yeah, well, law enforcement is definitely taking these seriously. as for the extent of the threats they vary, jim, but there are some similarities. most of them have been made by males who make these threats online on social media or via text message. some of the similarities are also in the targets that these
individuals boast about. these include places of worship. after el paso wal-mart was also targeted. there's also been schools that have been targeted. and also groups of people. we've seen various -- various suspects target hispanics, & for a genocide of latinos, mexicans. if you're wondering why so many sekt se suspects, why now? cnn learned after the el paso and dayton shooting fbi director christopher wray asked for all ohis fbi offices around the country to conduct a assessment to prevent mass shootingsmism cnn has asked the fbi about an update of this threat assessment and we haven't heard from the fbi yet. however, jim, it is clear that law enforcement both federally and locally and in the different
states around the country are taking these threats very seriously. jim? >> it appears they should. rosa flores, thanks very much. let's discuss all this with james, a retired supervisory special agent. good to have you on. >> good to be here with you, jim. >> talk again because i think we're having trouble hearing crow. >> you got me? can you hear me? >> so this remarkable number, a comdozen over the course of the last week or so. in your view are we seeing an increase in the number of threats here, or is it an increase awareness of such threats and a willingness to act? >> jim, i think that's a fair point. i mean we're certainly much more aware of hate crimes and the fbi director testified in april before a house committee and suggested, yes, there appears to be an uptick, but it can could also mean we have better reporting and better threat analysis. we've got to handle this the way
the military did. i'm not suggesting we call in the national guard. what i'm saying is we need to flood resources to where emerging threats are. now, i think the data sets are still incomplete because internationally speaking the vast majority of terror and killing is perpetrated by four groups like isis, taliban -- but at home the fbi director has noted that white supremacy is a persistent pervasive threat. we need to take it seriously and that's what he's doing. >> the president is hied to down-play the size and scope of the threat. i wonder from the law enforcement perspective is a there a danger of overreaction? we had a case of a 15-year-old boy who was arrested friday after making threats on a video game platform. and when police came to his house, his mother was pleading with them saying this wasn't serious. listen, i know this is difficult
and tough call, and you want to act with an abundance of caution here, but i imagine when you're trying to do prediction for these kinds of things, how serious they are, that presents challenges for law enforcement. >> just a couple of days ago you and i and the public advocate for the city of new york had a sober conversation about this. we do ask cops to do too much. there's only about 1.2 pill million of them in a country of 335 million people. when they show up and do these investigations, they have to sort through so many things. through first amendment protections and fourth amendment protections, second amendment protections. they've got to be a social worker, a counselor, a mental health specialist. jim, it's a tough spot because we allow people to think hateful things in this country. that's protected and we can't be thought police. but when does it metastasize into something dangerous? that right there is the tough spot is knowing when to interdict preincident or preattack.
>> and a lot of these shootings, we saw the shootings that were actually carried out, there were often warns in advance that were not heeded. you look at the parkland shooter and i know the fbi looked into that, i wonder having been a former fbi agent yourself, is the fbi learning from these? are they learning how to discern what's real, what they have to act on? >> they are absolutely studying this and i think director wray has made this a principle focus for two programs. obviously on the terrorism side, we have joint terrorism task forces across 56 divisions in the country as well as folks prepositioned in embassies across the globe. the second piece is the civil rights division. they have to look at hate crimes and bias incidents. it's a tough needle to thread, jim. you and i talk about it all the time. where do you make that effort to step in interdict? when is it hyperbole, satire,
someone blowing off steam, and when is it an indication they're going to act? >> that is the way law enforcement looks at it increasingly. great to have you on. >> thanks, jim. still ahead this hour president trump once again using the word nasty to describe a female politician. this time it's the danish prime minister. but will she engage in a war of words with him? she doesn't want to. and we're moments away from the opening bell on wall street. stocks are searching for direction this morning. investors we investors worrying over the potential. and minutes released showed no one suggested there were sign of recession when they were debating an interest rate cut. investors will be watching for any news on rate cuts when fed chairman jerome powell speaks tomorrow.
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on the country's prime minister. this after she shot down trump's idea of buying greenland, a sovereign part of a sovereign country. on wednesday trump reverted to his play book of insults calling her comment nasty. >> i thought that the prime minister's statement that it was absurd, that it was an absurd idea was nasty. i was it was an inappropriate statement. all she had to do was say, no, we wouldn't be interested. >> nasty. the president has now used that term to characterize nancy pelosi, hillary clinton, kamala harris, elizabeth warren and meghan markle. notice a theme? ana stewart is live in copenhagen. the danish prime minister says she does not want a war of words, but that is not stopping the president. >> reporter: no because last night he tweeted again. this time to criticize denmark's
contribution to nato saying they don't pay enough. he thinks they should pay more, 2% of their gdp. this comes as you know of days of this spat where the u.s. president has frankly insulted the danes saying he wants to buy greenland and also saying the prime minister's comments were nasty and also canceling the state visit. he was invited by the queen and he should be here in just under two weeks time, and the nato issue was something we expected him to raise if he had come. but tweeting now is seen as insult to injury. mike pompeo did call the danish prime minister as you said and that did seem to go down well. the foreign minister here did tweet to say they appreciated the conversation and work together on common issues. interestingly actually some
analysts here in denmark think this flurry of diplomatic activity may strengthen the bond. >> that's some hopeful spin thereafter a president cancels a state visit. thanks very much. iran has unveiled what it is a new domestically built weapon. today iranian president hassan rouhani was there as the country displayed the long-range mobile missile air defense system. state media reports the system is designed to neutralize aircraft, drones and high-speed ballistic missiles. president trump says it is time for europe to take back isis prisoners currently being held by syrian defense forces. the president says he'll not send those prisoners to guantanamo bay. he even threatened to release him into their home countries in
europe, among our allies there. president trump sign and executive order to keep guantanamo bay open, this of course reversing obama policy. what happens to these prisoners and is this a serious threat by the u.s. president to release dangerous terrorists onto the ground in europe? >> we're talking about approximately 2,000 isis fighters, isis adherents currently being held in syria but not being held in the u.s., by the trump administration. they're actually being held by forces in syria because the sdf really doesn't have the resources to ensure security of that facility. so president trump himself cannot necessarily have his administration suddenly take these people and dump them in europe. it would be a security nightmare for that was to happen.
so what the policy, the actual policy of the united states has been is to try and encourage these european countries to take these people back under strict circumstances and try and hold them accountable, prosecute them in their home countries in europe. it's a very difficult proposition, only a handful really but this is the way that u.s. policy is supposed to be working despite what the president said. jim? >> barbara, the president said he's going to take executive action to provide financial relief for disabled veterans. what is the issue that he's trying to fix here? >> well, even the president joked a little bit maybe this is a policy no one will criticize. what they're trying to do is make it automatic for disabled veterans to have their college debt if you will automatically forgiven. there's been a complex process within the department of education where disabled veterans can apply to have that
debt but it's a difficult process by all accounts for veterans to go through and even the top person at the department had wanted to see all of this stream lined. so the president now says this executive order will have that forgiveness of college debt for america's disabled veterans. jim? >> and that is an enormous relief for them and their families. barbara starr at the pentagon, thank vaerz muery much. one of the country's biggest steel producers announces hundreds of layoffs. can trump still declare a victory on his pledge to revive the u.s. steel industry? hi i'm joan lunden. today's senior living communities have never been better, with amazing amenities like movie theaters, exercise rooms
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was dead. your business was dead. okay, i don't want to be overly crude, your business was dead. and i put a little thing called a 25% tariff on all of the dumped steel all over the country, and now your business is thriving. >> well, just days after president trump made those claims that he helped revive, save american steel, the industry is in fact taking a big hit. u.s. steel announcing it is temporarily laying off 200 workers from a michigan plant. the company has been struggling with shares down more than 30%, a third since the beginning of the year. vanessa with the detail. how big a blow is it there and what does this say bigger picture about the market for u.s. steel? >> yeah, hi, jim, well people here in the community are confused and shocked by this news because they thought these
steel tariffs were actually supposed to boost production but u.s. steel announcing they're laying off temporarily 200 workers at this facility just behind me, and the company saying this is happening because of ongoing market challenges. and this is uncontrast to what we've heard the president say the last couple of weeks. i spoke to one city leader here who says he hasn't found a boost in the industry, and he and another community leader are concerned that these temporary layoffs will become permanent. >> we assume we have more production, and in fact we thought there'd be a reverse effect. and i'm hoping that things reverse quickly. >> it's a recession when your neighbor is laid off. it's a depression when you get laid off. it hasn't changed in the past 30
years, and there's all kinds of emotions. you get concerned when you hear 200 people are laid off, so it is a concern. >> and you hear from there the concern about the community, and 200 layoffs here may not sound like a lot when you are comparing it to the thousands who work here, but the concern is this is an indicator of what's happening with the industry, it's actually in peril rather than rebounding as the president has said. and also you mentioned the stock prices of u.s. steel. this time last year they were about $30 a share, and now they are about $12 a share, and that is 60% drop. as for when these temporary layoffs may be coming back online, jim, u.s. steel saying they don't have a date for when those jobs may officially be back. jim? >> so tell us about the employees there, any resources being provided to them while they're temporarily laid off?
>> well, a temporary layoff is tough. it leaves people here in limbo. there is a resource here within the community that was created especially for this reason. so many of the workers are going to be turning to that community resource for extra job training or trying to get placed in other sectors of the steel industry. but the organizer of that resource center told me that because these layoffs are happening in a rolling way, they are going to expect to see more and more people come through trying to get ahold of these resources as they are really facing uncertain times, trying to figure out when they're going to be getting their jobs back, jim? >> vanessa on the ground there in michigan, thanks very much. the amazon produces 20% of the earth's oxygen, one fifth. and right now a record number of wildfires are raging inside the
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literally everyone on the planet. right now wildfires are raging out of control in brazil's amazon rainforest. this is a satellite view of the giant plumes of smoke. the fire covers half of the country of brazil and is spilling over into neighboring countries. according to the national institute for space research, more than one and a half soccer fields rf rain forests are being destroyed every single minute.
we're there in morning. >> even where you are, 1700 miles away from the fires, you can see the smoke there? >> that's right, jim. this has been pretty alarming. these fires are ripping across the amazon, and while this is dry season when we do tend to see more fires, this has just been at an alarming rate, so much so that earlier this week at 3:00 p.m. right here on sao paulo. researchers came out and explained that this was a combination of low-lying clouds from a cold front mixing with smoke coming from those fires in the amazon. so you saw this hashtag pray for amazon, and really a war of words with environmentalists blaming the administration, saying that his encouraging business to develop the amazon and refunding the agencies that crack down on illegal activity
there have really sent a message that anything goes. and yet ironically when he was asked what's up with this spike in the fires, he responded maybe it's the angios themselves setting the fires because i've taken their funds away. so a really flippant attitude and also indicating that not much is being done to stop the fires. >> and it has real and immediate and lasting consequences, does it not, for the planet? >> absolutely. it has huge consequences for the planet for what so many people refer to as the lungs of the earth. but even for brazil itself, they've just signed this trade agreement with europe and yet its attitude in relation to the environment has already caused a lot of friction. germany and norway have withdrawn $70 million in funding for the bra jill amazon fund because it really isn't being applied. and again, he just responded,
why don't you just replant some trees in germany. it isn't being taken seriously and this could affect trade relations. >> lord help us. good to have you on the story. thanks very much. a plane slid off a runway, burst into flames with ten people on board. amazingly they walked away without a scratch. that story just ahead. plus cnn films premier about the first big-name fashion designer halston. he was a fashion genius and ahead of his time. the story of his downfall. it premooers on sunday at 9:00 p.m. eastern time. family reunion attendance is up. we're all related! yeah, i see it. and because priceline offers great deals by comparing thousands of prices in real time, sports fans are seeing more away games. various: yeah-h-h! is that safe? oh, y... ahh!
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ten people walked away uninjured after their small charter plane crashed and burst into flames in california. the pilot had to abort takeoff at the orrville airport due to complications causing the plane to slide off the runway. the jet was fully engulfed inspect flames just minutes later. this is the same type of aircraft that crashed last week. that one involving the air car driver dale earnhardt, jr. he also thankfully survived. cnn correspondent scott maclean is following these developments. are there concerns about this aircraft now, scott?
>> that is a great question. currently the ntsb and faa are both investigating. what we know about this crash so far is very little, but it was scheduled to fly from orrville california to portland, oregon, when for some unknown reason the takeoff was aborted. the plane slid off the end of the runway. at first the plane looks intact, there's just a grass fire beside it. by the time fire crews got there, it was almost completely engulfed. all ten people survived without injury. i just got off the phone with one of the survivors who was on board. he declined to describe his experience, but he is grateful that everyone on board was okay. he is a ceo of a packaging company. we also connected with a spokesperson who said that eight of the passengers were employees and all are doing just fine.
the plane is a cessna citation. when you think of a private jet, this is probably the type of plane that comes to mind. it can fly up to 2,000 nautical miles and it can also carry up to 12 different people and it is the same plane, the same type of plane that dale earnhardt, jr. was in when his plane crashed less than one week ago in eastern tennessee. in that case, the plane actually bounced twice on the runway before plowing through a fence and coming to rest on a highway and obviously blufusting into flaems. he was on board on his wife and daughter and two pilots. everyone was okay. earnhardt even plans to race next weekend. he has some back issues but he's hoping he'll be well enough to do that next weekend. the initial report on the earnhardt crash should be due out any day now. though the full report for both of these incidents too take a year or even more. >> near missness both cases. thanks very much.
two people were hurt monday night while trying to secure an event tent during a powerful storm in south carolina. they were preparing for a clemson university event when a storm hit the area. employees raced outside to try to secure the tent and a strong gust lifted it several feet into the air, along with two employees. you can see it there. just incredible to watch. one of the employees was slammed into the gutter on the roof. he had to get stitches and suffered several cuts and bruises. a very good morning to you. i'm jim sciutto in washington. poppy harlow is off today. if you're trying to pin down president trump's positions on issues such as gun control, tax cuts, good luck to you. over the last 24 erratic hours he's claimed to be open to stricter background checks, but sometimes in the very same breath claims the u.s. already has them. that's just the beginning.
a small sliver of the back and forth and the taking of both sides of a host of issues from this president. "the new york times" reporting this morning, quote, some former trump administration officials in recent days said they were increasingly worried about the president's behavior, saying it stems from rising pressure on mr. trump as the economy seems more worrisome and next year's election approaches. just the other day the president called himself the chosen one to take on china on trade war. he praised a conspiracy theorist who dubbed him the king of israel. he called the prime minister's comment nasty after she said that greenland, a sovereign part of her country was not for sale for the u.s. he flip flopped on new tax cuts and went after president obama, blaming his predecessor 20 times for all the country's problems. joining me now, sarah west wood. what is the latest coming from if administration? let's focus on gun control.