tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN August 22, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
remains behind bars. the ceo of overstock.com resigned after revealing they had a sexual relationship. the manhunt continues after an l.a. county sheriff's deputy was shot by someone in an apartment building across the street. cnn is on the scene. and thwarting a mass shooting plot in a california hotel where a disgruntled cook was ready to gun down guests and his co-workers. wolf blitzer is off today. you are in the the situation room. tonight there is more reason for americans to be concerned about a possible recession as new indicators suggest a downturn could be on the horizon. job growth and u.s. manufacturing growth is slowing. a warning signal from the bond market is flashing.
but the president seems to be ignoring all of that arguing in a tweet the economy is doing really well. his efforts may be undermined about new confusion of his economic policy and a wild rant we saw him unleash on the white house lawn. and new controversy around russian agent maria butina. the ceo of overstock.com resigned after publicly revealing his romance with her. our correspondents and analysts are standing by. first let's go to the white house. as recession fears are growing fears are getting stronger. >> the labor department announcing today they are revising the number of jobs more
than a half million fewer than previously added to the payroll. when president trump was asked about the change a few moments ago, he says he is not concerned about it and is still optimistic about the economy. our sources tell us behind the scene there is is concern in the west wing. the job numbers have been really good. the economy has been fantastic. thank you very much everybody. >> as economic warning signs are flashing, tonight president trump is sending mixed messages on his game plan. >> i am not looking at a tax cut now. we don't need it. we have a strong economy. >> part of the confusion, whether or not the president is considering a payroll tax cut to ward off an economic downturn. >> president obama did that in order to artificially jack up the economy. >> thank you so much. >> that is a reversal of what he said only days ago. >> payroll taxes, i have been thinking about payroll taxes for a long time. >> the president's flip flop coming as congressional budget
forecasters say more red ink is to come. the congressional budget office now says the federal deficit will balloon to $960 billion this fiscal year, and average $1.2 trillion for the next decade. the president's most consistent economic message has been a contradictory one. today he insisted the economy is doing really well but he spent the week calling for a big federal rate cut, a move typically made when an economic dip is on the horizon. >> you will see a rocket ship. you will see -- if he does it we have a very strong economy. >> the whiplash in the west wing is widespread. >> i have an appetite for background checks. we will be doing background checks. now trump says he will push for background checks and claims he never told the nra he wouldn't even though he spent the week repeating their talking points. >> it is a trump talking point.
>> sources tell cnn white house aides are working on gun control proposals for when congress returns to capitol hill. whether or not the support will waiver remains to be seen. as trump bobs and weaves between controversies, two of his top advisors are noticeably missing in action. following a weekend vacation in wyoming, jared kushner and ivanka trump have remained silence with his accusation that -- >> if you vote for a democrat, you are being very disloyal to jewish people. >> from skiing in aspen as the administration's attempt to repeal obamacare collapsed to vacationing in florida during the government shutdown. their absence in times of trouble is an absence of the trump presidency. >> even as the president said he was looking at a payroll tax cut
and has been for a while, his top economic advisor says they do not expect any near term tax cuts to happen but he said the administration is looking at additional tax cuts 2.0, something he said they could unveil during the 2020 election. that is something that is news tonight from the president's top economic advisor. there will be questions because in the congressional budget office they talked about how the president's last round of tax cuts in 2017 helped contribute to the ballooning deficit. now to new intrigue involving accused russian agent maria butina. the ceo of overstock.com is calling it quits after disclosing he had a romance with butina. we knew that butina was involved with the gop political operative. what do we know about this situation? >> this is really bizarre.
this shows you her reach. it goes beyond what we believe our political operatives in the republican party. it seems that she in the private sector had tentacles in to people. after the ceo reveals he has an affair with her, the stock tumbles 30%. >> wow. >> shareholders clearly unhappy with this news. that is just one part of this. i think more and more it will come out. she had a lot of relationships with different people and it seems like more and more is coming out. their relationship started in 2015. they had an affair. it lasted until 2018. he said that he went to the fbi. he went to the investigators about their relationship. he cooperated in their investigation. and of course he takes issue with how the investigation was conducted. let me read to you what he said in the statement about how it is all part of a deep state plot.
he said he assisted in what is known as the clinton investigation and the russian investigation and in fact i am the notorious missing chapter 1 of the russian investigation. and then he says that it turned out to be less about law enforcement and more about political espionage conducted against hillary clinton and donald trump. he takes issue in some ways. you are trying to figure out what exactly he means by this. but there has been a lot of espionage into political campaigns. we know what maria butina pled guilty to admitting to be an agent of the russians. he is right. there is a lot of espionage. but the fact that he had to reveal his relationship with her, significant for shareholders. because it became such a distraction he decided that it was best to resign. >> is this over for him or do the feds want to know something?
>> i think it is over for him for now. he cooperated. there is no reason to believe that he didn't. look, i think the fbi always wanted to know more about her relationship with people, beyond what they can charge. beyond the people they can arrest or bring in. they were interested in how they went about building relationships to people in the nra and the republican party and personal relationships with ceos of companies where once they reveal they have the situation stocks tumble. the effect is grand. we will see. probably more will come out down the line. >> the former ceo, patrick burn gave an interview on fox business. you mentioned how he is conspiratorial. let's listen to him now. here is the bottom line. there is a deep state like a submarine lurking just beneath the waves at periscope depth
watching the shipping lanes and a nuclear ice breaker has snuck up on them and is about to ram them mid-ship. >> wow. >> it is very strange. look, i think this relationship probably was very strange. they met under interesting circumstances. obviously at a political event in las vegas. she was very good at penetrating organizations. penetrating groups. building relationships with people. we also know that she was dating another person at the time as well, someone attached to the republican party. this is her thing. she knew how to work her way around. some people were susceptible to it. for him he still feels really about about how the fbi treated her in the entire investigation. he wrote letters to the department of justice, to the inspector general how it was unfair with how she was treated. so, he is still enamored with
her and is interested in what is going on in her life. she is in prison now. eventually she will go back to russia when she is done serving her time. bizarre indeed. joining me now is a democrat on the judiciary and foreign relations committee. we have a lot to discuss. you heard the report about maria butina and you heard the tentacles she had even into the private sector here. what does this tell you about how russia operates? >> they should warn all of us that russia continues to be an active and aggressive adversary seeking a lot of ways to penetrate our political system. maria was using a classic russian spy technique of seduction and engagement with folks that were significant figures in business and advocacy organizations as your reporter just mentioned. one of her targets was the nra.
as we saw this week, as president trump reversed himself on the earlier strong position in favor of advancing background checks. the nra continues to be one of the most influential adversary administrations in the trump organization. now maria butina is serving jail time. russia has, is and will be our adversary seek to influence our elects at the highest level. >> the deficit is now expected to reach $1 trillion next year. jobs numbers have been revised down for the year. how concerned are you about the president's ability to handle an economic downturn? >> i am very concerned. we have taken off of the table the critical resources our government has had at hand if there is a sharp downturn.
we have brought our deficits significantly lower over the last four years of the obama administration following the massive tax cut passed by republicans last year. that deficit is now soaring back up again. it is approaching $1 trillion and it is projected to be over $1 trillion for the next decade. that makes it harder for us. we are running record deficits at a time of record unemployment and where our economy continues to be relatively strong. if we have a recession, this makes it even more difficult for the federal government to make investments to help us to get out of a recession. i am concerned. i am also concerned frankly about the president's frequent reversals. the last week we saw him make a fantastical offer to purchase greenland from denmark. on again and off again proposals about a potential payroll tax
cut his own administration was aware he was seriously considering until he overrode them publicly. i am thinking about that. it is unclear what the policy proposals will be to reduce the deficits or strengthen our economy. i will remind you, president trump repeatedly attacked jay powell and the independents of the federal reserve, something i think is a very unwise move indeed in terms of economic policy. >> the president is leaving for the g7 summit tomorrow. what should he be trying to achieve? >> he should be trying to strengthen our alliances. since the end of the second world war the united states has been more secure and prosperous by a global network of alliances like nato and europe and the asia pacific. our rising adversaries, china and russia do not have networks of close alliances. china has nervous neighbors and
customers and client states but not a network of alliances like we do. if president trump will be successful in his tariff war with china for which millions of americans are paying dearly, he ought to be restrengthening and reinvigorating the alliance of common purpose. instead i am afraid we will see a repeat of last year where he frankly threatened or challenged or shook up a lot of the alliances and left the g7 with all of them wondering what direction he is heading in. >> he is calling for russia to rejoin the group. the same time he is snubbing the danish government. what is the message that sends to nato allies? >> i think a negative one. i will tell you, the last time that i went to denmark it was with the republican chairman of the senate foreign relations quarterback, bob corker and the chair of the house foreign affairs committee.
the four of us went to countries in europe. denmark is a trusted and vital nato ally that you was among the first to come to our defense since 9/11. they lost more than 40 troops standing shoulder to shoulder with american troops in afghanistan. for our president to be advocating for russia and for their return to the g7 when they have done nothing to step back from their aggression against the ukraine or constant undermining of democracies in the west and to snub denmark at the same time. i think that shows a frighteningly off balance set of priorities. our president ran as an unconventional president. he is overperforming in that category. i think he is puzzling or actively distancing our most important european allies. i hope he will reverse the trend at the g7 meeting. >> let's turn to tougher gun laws. the president has denied reports that he told the head of the nra
that background checks are off the table. why do you think in the senate the majority leader will not take this up? >> well, majority leader mitch mcconnell, endorsed by the nra has relied heavily on them for funding and volunteers to remain the majority leader in the senate. he is endorsed by the nra and strongly supported by them. this flies in the face of poll after poll showing 90% of americans support stronger background checks as a way of keeping guns out of the hands of people that have them. this enjoys significant support from republicans, from gun owners and from americans as a whole. so i think this is going to be a real issue in the upcoming election, and president trump should seize this moment to show real leadership, and to get background checks, universal background checks, a vote on the
floor in the senate and get them signed in to law. he could do this if he chose to stand up to the nra. it would be an important moment and it would help secure our public safety. but i am afraid we will see a repeat of what he has done the last few times. there was a mass shooting incident. initially he makes strong statements about his courage and ability to make us a stronger and safer country but then slinks away in the face of a challenge from the nra. >> senator, change you so much for joining us. >> thank you. ahead, after 1,000 volatile days in office, where are former trump aides worried about the president's behavior now? and we will go to california for the latest on a search for a suspected sniper that shot a sheriff's deputy. memory loss related to aging? prevagen is the number one pharmacist-recommended memory support brand. you can find it in the vitamin aisle in stores everywhere.
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ask your gastroenterologist about humira. with humira, remission is possible. there is reportedly growing concern about recent erratic behavior by president trump. let's dig deeper with our experts and analysts. rachel, we heard a lot of troubling comments from the president this week and the "new york times" is reporting they are hearing former administration officials are increasingly worried about the president's behavior. why are they worried more now versus other times? >> yeah. the president has always been pretty unpredictable. we have known that. but the past week really made peoples heads spins.
starting off with canceling a state visit because denmark would not sell him greenland, an idea they thought was absurd. he just totally up and cancelled the meeting. retweeting a conspiracy theoryist who said he was like the king of israel and attacking jewish voters for saying if they vote for democrats they are disloyal. these are headlines the white house does not want. the president is going into a difficult re-election in 2020. they need him on message. these are not the stories they need or will help them. so they are worried. >> they think the reason is the economy. we are seeing these indicators that have economists thinking a recession is around the corner. how far, we don't know at this point in time. the question remains as the president is having this behavior, are there any adults in the room there at the white house? there are key agencies right now do you think jackie? >> you know, i don't know the
adults matter anymore, because -- no. we put a lot of stock in the adults in the room and they leave and they say i am the one that saved everything. at the end of the day the president does what the president wants to do. even if a plan is carefully put together, he is still going to take his own path if that is what he decides to do. right. they have been pretty on message this week about the economy. he talked about the rosie picture of the economy. whether or not it is reflected by reality. again, it can take a turn tomorrow. so, yes. there probably are adults but i don't know at the end of the day their opinion really matters. >> wow. jeffrey, so the times is reporting at one point last year according to a former official that heard him he joked in a meeting about trading puerto rico for greenland. you have discussed this, the idea of not really a joke. how can aides know the
difference? >> one of the strange things about president trump is that nobody has ever seen him laugh, like a full laugh on camera. think about it. you never see it. and this notion of explaining crazy things he says as jokes is not -- that is just not true. he does not joke. when he said russia, you know, i want you to find hillary clinton's e-mails, they tried to explain it as a joke. it wasn't. russia went right to work trying to find hillary's e-mails. >> maybe not a joke but is it about pro about provocation. is it truly serious you think? >> yes. i think when he looks up at the sky and says i am the chosen one. i think what he meant is i am the chosen one. this narcissistic approach to life, that is the way he has always been.
the idea to explain it away as he is just joking, no he is not. this is what he thinks. this is how he behaves. you know, the idea that somehow it will change or there will be adults in the room, it is all crazy. i mean, you know, he is who he is and efforts to explain that he is not really the way that he is are increasingly futile. >> let's talk about the g7. the president is heading there this weekend and supposed to be strengthening alliances for the u.s. but instead is calling for russia to join the group making it the g8 and instead insulted denmark. listen to russian tv and their response to the president. >> he is being applauded on
russian state television. >> that tells me that ronald reagan and barry goldwater would be rolling over in their graves. the contrast couldn't be worse if you think about the span of recent history. the president is in a war of words with denmark, a nato ally that lost dozens of soldiers or troops in afghanistan fighting along side us. its pilots flew missions in libya when we were fighting there. meanwhile russia was kicked out of the g8, turning it in to the g7 because they invaded an annexannex ed -- now president trump says let's let them in because he somehow has this affinity. you know, this bromance and crush on vladimir putin that to this day, three years in, is not
quite fully explained. >> i am old enough to remember the mueller report. the mueller report was all about how russia tried to help donald trump get elected and how donald trump's campaign was encouraging that. and now, you know, this is payback to vladimir putin. why does it have to be more complicated than that? >> stand by. we have a lot to talk about from the economy to which former trump administration official is going to be joining dancing with the stars. that 's ahead. leading the charge on value.fe we have stock and bond index funds with lower expense ratios than comparable vanguard funds. and the industry's first true zero expense ratio index funds offered directly to investors. plus, we have fidelity mutual funds with zero minimum investment. how many other firms give you this much value? absolutely zero. ♪ why don't they do what they say ♪ ♪ say what they mean
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we are back now with our experts and analysts. let's talk about what is ahead for the president. he is heading to the g7. this is going to be critical. he issued this warn to europe yesterday. we are holding thousands of isis fighters right now. europe has to take them. if europe does not take them, i will have no choice but to release them into the countries from which they came which is germany and france and other places. >> germany and france will be at this meeting. you know, when i go to a party i like to threaten the people that will be there i am going to release terrorists. he is going to a gathering, david, of countries where he is threatening to release
terrorists into their country. he can't do that but it is very provocative. >> all the way through his presidency he thought of things as offers. i offer something outlandish. maybe the other side, france and germany, come back with something closer to the position i want them to be in and we work something out. the problem is that number one in this case it is a preposterous offer and everybody in the world is on to president trump's, you know, art of the deal negotiating tactics at this point. the two choices are to ignore or rebuff him as the danish prime minister did and say preposterous. you get a few tweets thrown at you and he goes back to strike a deal with kim jong un. >> 40,000 people in guantaunmo.
>> i think he thinks that -- >> he is talking about syria. >> they are not our prisoners in syria. i just think that we have to have a little handle on the crazy. i don't know what he is talking about. >> he is talking about the concept of fighters that have joined isis that have come from the countries. >> the through line in all of this is that the united states is doing too much of the dirty work in the world and paying for too much of the dirty work in the world. it is of a piece that not enough nato countries are ponying up the 2% of gdp they are supposed to spend on defense. that is a target, not an ante. but the president is trying to force action among our allies where they realize they can't be forced. >> these countries have taken in way more refugees. not like they didn't play a
role, really to the detriment of the political positions of their leaders as well. >> i think the whole statement, you know, take it at face value. you have the president of the united states threatening to release terrorists into allies countries. that in and of itself -- >> it is a threat of violence. >> yeah. remarkable. perhaps it has something to do with him being upset with denmark. maybe he is looping denmark in with them in general. but again, it is just a reality check of how much he up-ended the world order where our allies are our foes. >> let's take it a lighter direction, right. so, there are former administration officials who are getting tv jobs, different jobs. you have former white house press secretary sarah sanders joining fox news as a
contributor and the white house press secretary sean spicer will be a contestant on abc's dancing with the stars. what does that say if you are in this administration and then that is your option for professional employment? >> you know, the last time that i saw sean spicer was in a shopping mall. i shook his hand. and then, unlike -- i don't cover the white house on a day-to-day basis. i sit in an office. i watched him on tv. i don't know why anyone wants to hire him for anything. >> i think it will set him up to be the next secretary of energy. >> he wasn't that great either, was he? >> no. >> he joins a lot of politicians that ended up on that show.
>> tucker carlson comes to mind. >> yeah. yeah. >> go ahead. >> what is wrong with having sean spicer on dancing with the stars? is that a threat to the national security? >> i don't want to see him in a pirate shirt. not a puffy seinfeld pirate shirt. >> even the host of the show is not thrilled about him being on dancing with the stars. >> yeah. on a serious note i can tell you i talked to many hill republicans that have had a chance to work in the white house or for the campaign. they have turned them down because worries about post trump employment and ever being hired by google or facebook or going on to lobby. that is a real concern. you have the concern of the here and now. nobody speaks for trump but trump. this week alone he flip flopped on the payroll taxes. the white house said that was not a real thing.
trump came out to confirm it for reporters right there. and then you had gun control, the flip flops on that. that is just a really tough job. >> it is a tough job. i think people will tune in to watch. i think that there are people tuning in to say they are not happy about it. i don't think people want to see sean spicer dance and that will be the final word about that. thank you so much. this was a wonderful discussion. just ahead, a suspected sniper is on the loose in the los angeles area tonight and we will have the latest on the manhunt. hey, who are you? oh, hey jeff, i'm a car thief... what?! i'm here to steal your car because, well, that's my job. what? what?? what?! (laughing) what?? what?! what?! [crash] what?! haha, it happens. and if you've got cut-rate car insurance, paying for this could feel like getting robbed twice. so get allstate... and be better protected from mayhem... like me. ♪
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>> we are following an urgent manhunt in the los angeles area for a possible sniper that shot a deputy outside the sheriff's department. the shooter opened fire from a nearby apartment building has been on the loose for about 24 hours. we are on the scene in lancaster, california. stephanie, tell us if the authorities have any leads right now. >> i want to show you first off if you look behind me you can see the cars behind the gate. the personal vehicles of the deputies that work beyond here. beyond that is the apartment complex they believe the shots were fired from. that is the focus of the investigation right now. >> we don't have race, gender, age or anything. >> tonight a manhunt is underway for a possible sniper after a
los angeles county deputy was ambushed in a sheriff's department parking lot. just before 3:00 p.m. wednesday deputy angel reynosa was on his way to the car when shots were fired. the deputy was hit in the chest but his bullet proof vest saved him deflecting the bullet into his shoulder. >> we responded to where he was at. located him and evacuated him out of the parking lot. got him medical treatment. thankfully the wound was minor. we expect he will be fine, full recovery. >> other deputies rushed to assist and were fired on but nobody else was hit. the apartment building where
officials believe the shots came from was put on lockdown and also a nearby school. tactical teams searched for the shooter, immediately sweeping the apartment complex and detaining two adults for being uncooperative. the mayor believes the apartment building shouldn't be where it is, overlooking the sheriff's department parking lot. >> it is a building filled with people that are being treated for mental illness. of course it is a concern. of course it is insanity to allow such a facility to exist in that particular location. he can't say it because the sheriff department has to be really politically correct about this stuff. let's be realistic. it is outrageous to have that population in that location, and thank god we're not talking about a funeral as a result of it.
>> as new information from the sheriffs department this evening, they said the wound that the deputy has is superficial. the bullet did not actually penetrate the skin but scraped along the top of it. while they were going through the apartment complex they found a pellet gun they sent to the forensic lab to see if that was it. but at this point they believe it was an isolated incident. >> just ahead, another suspected mass shooting plot tlafhwarted. the latest in two dozen shooting plots averted this month. what is behind the rise in these attempted attacks? (speaking japanese) where am i? (woman speaking french) are you crazy/nuts? cyclist: pip! pip! (woman speaking french) i'm here, look at me. it's completely your fault.
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there are new details ton of alleged plot of a mass shooting at a long beach, california, hotel. the latest of morp 2 dozen suspected plots averted this month. cnn's nick watt is working the story and you're learning more about the chilling case. tell us. >> briana, within the past hour the suspect made his first appearance in court, charged with two felony counts of making criminal threats, one count of dissuading a witness by force or threat and one count of possessing an assault weapon.
he pleaded not guilty to everything. high-powered rifles hundreds of rounds of ammunition, 38 illegal high capacity magazines, and tactical gear. all found at rodolfo montoya's home. >> 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. >> the 37-year-old was a cook at in march yot hotel near the airport in long beach, california. >> he was upset about some recent workplace activity, having to do with h.r. >> and allegedly confided in a colleague his plan. >> he was going to shoot up fellow employees and people coming into the hotel. so he had a plan of shooting everybody that he saw in the hotel. >> that colleague reported montoya's alleged threat to hotel management monday night, police were called and he was arrested at his home in nearby huntington beach within 24
hours. >> because this was reported, i firmly believe many lives were saved. >> more than two dozen people have been arrested across the country for allegedly plotting or threatening mass casualty attacks since that spate of shootings in early august that killed 34. >> they are shooting. >> a farlg festival in california, dayton, ohio and el paso, texas. security sources tell cnn that fbi director chris wray has ordered field offices to conduct new threat assessments, to stifle future attacks. this alleged long beach plotter currently held on a $500,000 bond had no previous criminal history that would have raised a flag upon a background check. >> we are certainly living in dangerous times in our country and community. and incidence where folks that shouldn't have access to weapons and to certainly illegal weapons are facing our departments and
police departments across the country. >> monea said two words in court, yes to confirm his name. yes to confirm his date of birth. he remains in custody. and briana, the preliminary hearing now set for two weeks from now. >> all right. nick watt, thank you so much. we have more news in just a moment. more real people than me: jd power. 448,134 to be exact. they answered 410 questions in 8 categories about vehicle quality. and when they were done, chevy earned more j.d. power quality awards across cars, trucks and suvs than any other brand over the last four years. so on behalf of chevrolet, i want to say "thank you, real people." you're welcome. we're gonna need a bigger room.
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rain forest. and environmentalists call the destruction unprecedented and the peak of the dry season doesn't hit until next month. smoke from the fires has covered half of brazil and spilling to neighboring peru abbolivia and paraguay. outfront next, trouble for trump. new poll numbers show his support slipping at the same time there are new warning signs about the economy. is in what's behind that erratic behavior? plus jared and ivanka missing in action? why are the president's closest advisers no where to be seen after trump's controversial comments about jewish americans? and the ceo of a major online retailer abruptly resigned after he reveals his relationship with an accused russian pie. let's go outfront. good evening, everyone i'm kate baldwin in forer inburn net. ignore the warning signs that's th